Botswana Medical Regulatory Authority (BOMRA), last week raided three pharmacies in Francistown where they seized medicines not registered in Botswana.
Director of Inspection and Licensing at BOMRA, Dr Seima Dijeng, told The Voice in an interview that they got a tip-off from the police that some pharmacies may be selling some illegal drugs in Francistown.
“Some of the medicines are those that are supposed to be sold under prescription, but it seems they were dispensing these medicines to customers without any prescription,” explained Dr Dijeng, adding they obtained search warrants to search the establishments.
Upon their search, Dr Dijeng says they discovered one pharmacy selling illegal medicine.
“We were not able to find the medicines in all the three pharmacies that we were tipped off about, but in one of them we found out that indeed it was stocking illegal birth control medicines,” he said.
Dijeng says preliminary investigations indicate that such medicines did not appear in the registry, and therefore could not have been brought into the country legally.
He says investigations will continue in a bid to find out how these medicines ended up in the country, saying it was discovered that the pharmacy operator concealed the labelling of the medicines.
“So, we therefore were not able to ascertain where these birth control drugs were coming from because the owners have erased the markings that were on the back of the packs,” he explained, adding this triggered further investigations and have left the police to do further investigations.
The BOMRA officer says in those pharmacies that they did not find anything, it might be that they may have run out of stock at the time of the raid as there seems to be significant demand for the product.
“It is something we are worried about, and we are going to pursue this case to the end and hopefully we will get to a point where we are able to prosecute.”
The medicines, according to Dijeng, have been taken to laboratories to establish if they are safe for human use.
However, he says even if the results can indicate that the medicine is safe, the pharmacy owner will still be charged for bringing unregistered drugs into the country.
BOMRA carried out the raid in collaboration with the narcotics department in Francistown.