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Feature Article of Saturday, 17 March 2012

Columnist: Kwarkye, Nana Abena Afriyie

The Mobile Chemist

Anytime I step out of my house, I come across worrying developments. This always puts me behind my desk and gets me writing. The issue of health is one topic that cannot be exhausted. In recent time a lot of talk has been going on with regards to healthy practices such as the following; washing of hands with soap and water on a regular basis, drinking at least eight glasses of water daily, eating a lot of fruits and vegetable, regular work out, to mention but a few.

Sometimes sicknesses are unavoidable in as much as one adheres to strict healthy life style. When it knocks on our doors, some people will walk in to a hospital to see a doctor. Others trust the services of pharmacists. Few people also depend on the services of herbalists for their recovery. These are all choices people make due to their belief and financial status.

Quiet recently, something caught my attention when I went to the market. I came across a group of men who sell drugs in the market. They carry the drugs in a transparent polythene bag and they move round the market shouting to draw attention as they walk by. Most of the drugs are pain killers and appetizers. Indeed the drugs are assorted and have strange names. Most of them are imported from China.

My first concern is the exposure to the sun. Most drugs have temperatures under which it should be stored. Since these drugs are directly exposed to the sun, it only means that it is not being stored under the right temperature. I have always seen the storage instruction on drugs to read ‘store in a cool dry place’. Obviously the sun is not a cool place to store drugs.

Secondly, how qualified are these mobile chemists to administer drugs to the public? I bet they don’t have the license to sell drugs. The most worrying aspect is that, they parade mostly the market places where most of our market women are illiterates. In this regard, it is easier to sell these drugs to them since it will not be too difficult to convince them. This indeed is worrying!

These market women also prescribe the drugs that they bought from these mobile chemists to their fellow women. If it has worked for them in the past, they tend to advertise to others. Funny enough, since the advert is being done by one of their own they quickly accept the information. In extreme cases these service providers even administer injection, how alarming!

Those of us who have had the opportunity to travel abroad will bear witness to the fact that one cannot just walk into a Pharmacy shop to buy drugs without a prescription from a doctor. Why do we have to encourage a practice such as this in our country?

The time has come for the regulatory body in charge, to rise up and clamp down on these mobile chemists. My argument is that, how many qualified pharmacists will carry drugs and go about the market selling as these men do? Hence, they are unqualified!

A stitch in time will save lives!!!!!!!

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