Dar es Salaam,
The Tanzanian government will begin cracking down on pharmacies and other establishments selling emergency contraceptive pills, commonly known as P2, and abortion pills (misoprostol) without prescription.
Ms Elizabeth Shekalaghe, the Registrar of the Pharmacy Council, made the announcement at a general meeting of the Pharmaceutical Society of Tanzania, noting that the drugs can be sold but by prescription only.
"Despite the challenges we face in controlling the illicit trafficking of medicines, it has been identified that dangerous tabs such as misoprostol and P2 are being used contrary to the government's intentions," she said.
She also called on members of the public to report establishments that are selling medicines illegally.
"I remind all professionals, even in the pharmacies that are allowed to sell P2 and misoprostol, it’s good to keep accurate records so that when authorities pass by they will know on what basis these medicines were issued," she said.
Speaking at the same meeting, Minister of Health Dr Dorothy Gwajima directed that action be taken against pharmacists that operate against Tanzania's rules and regulations.
“How come medicines that require a doctor's certificate are issued against the rules? Take strict action against them, and also amend the laws and regulations governing the issue of prescription and issuance of medical certificates," said Dr Gwajima.
Chief Government Pharmacist Daudi Msasi said key pharmacies are the ones selling medicines such as P2.
“Citizens are complaining that we have failed to protect them against these medicines. The result is that young people are using them incorrectly. Remember these pharmacies have used your professional certificates to operate, but they are the ones that lead in selling drugs illegally," he said.
Report by Bethsheba Wambura