A seasoned medicine expert familiar with The Gambia’s pharmaceutical industry has revealed that a flagrant violation of the condition of pharmacists’ licensing is the cause of the problem the country is facing.
“According to Regulation 2018-51 the license holders (the pharmacists (otherwise called supervisors, should spend four hours minimum each day in the pharmacy trading under their licenses. Now in a situation where a Gambian pharmacist holds and rents three licenses he or she should by law spend 10 hours supervising the pharmacies trading under his or her licenses. But how can they do this when almost all of the same pharmacists are on full-time employment with MCA, Pharmacy Council, Central Medical Stores or public hospitals?” our source queried.
He said in some cases, some of the pharmacists concerned are not even resident in The Gambia as is the case of one of them.
He further disclosed that in other countries a pharmacist can hold only one license; retail or wholesale and only they can dispense controlled drugs which is not the case here. “Also, here in The Gambia before 2017 a pharmacist can hold only two licenses, one retail and one wholesale but this has been greedily increased to three by the same people since they are the ones who drafted and enforce the regulations,” our expert said. He further asked whether the pharmacists ever pay tax to GRA on the monies earned from rent which can go up to D150,000 per month.
Our expert source said the whole industry is affected by conflict of interests and total disregard of the regulations as well as monopoly of the industry. He asked government to take remedial action and save the country from greedy people.