The Sunday Mail
Prince Golide Maposa
The high cost of medicines has opened floodgates for the smuggling of illegal drugs which are being peddled on the streets and pose health dangers to patients, regulatory authorities have said.
Some of these medicines being sold illegally include antibiotics, painkillers, contraceptives as well as dermatological creams and body enhancement supplements.
The influx of the uncontrolled medicines come at the back of a continued sale of drugs by pharmacies, at prices and currencies beyond the reach of many people.
Government has been making frantic efforts to ensure the country has enough basic drugs with the latest intervention being the securing of a US$25 million consignment of medicines from India.
The package from the Asian giant also includes ambulances and is expected to boost the local healthcare services.
Medicine Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ) spokesperson Mr Shingai Gwatidzo said the authority was working closely with other control agencies such as the police and the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority to curb the smuggling of medicines into the country.
“Generally, the formal market is well regulated and we are not facing major challenges with counterfeit medicines,” he said.
“In order to curb the problem of illegal medicines and drugs, MCAZ is conducting training and capacity building activities for ZIMRA and port health officials, so that they are able to carry out consignment verification and alert law enforcement agents where suspicious goods are identified.”
Mr Gwatidzo said unregulated drugs had a long term side effect on users.