The National Drugs Authority (NDA) has arrested 12 people and closed down more than 160 illegal drug-shops and clinics in Lango sub-region in one week.
This was during a joint operation conducted by NDA and police in the sub-region. The NDA zonal drugs inspector, Mr Emmanuel Opono, said the operation was conducted in all the eight districts in Lango, adding that more than 250 drug shops and clinics were inspected.
“We impounded all the drugs in more than 160 units and closed them due to failure to observe minimum operational standards,” Mr Opono said at a press briefing at their regional offices in Lira Town, last week.
He added that the 12 people who were arrested were found selling government drugs in their private clinics and drugs shops. They are suspected to have stolen the drugs from government health facilities where they are employed.
Mr Opono said the drugs, which their team confiscated, would only be given back to the owners after they have corrected issues which prompted their business premises to be closed down.
He said the confiscated drugs would be destroyed if they fail to fulfill the requirement within three months. He said some of the outlets which were closed down were operating in unhygienic conditions.
Mr Opono said some drugs were recovered hidden in mattresses and under beds after drug shop owners lock their business premises and carried all the drugs home on learning about the NDA inspections.
“We found a scenario where a drug shop which is licensed only to sell certain class of drugs is also carrying out diagnosis and prescription of drugs and treating patients as if it is a clinic,” he said, noting that clinics which are not supposed to sell drugs have turned into drugs shops and display drugs for sale.
Some of the drugs NDA confiscated, he said, were being sold illegally like foodstuff in markets by people with no medical knowledge. Such drugs, he said become toxic and not fit for consumption because of exposure to too much heat from the sun.
Mr Opono said some outlets were found being operated by unqualified people.
He said such persons put people’s lives at risk because they give wrong prescriptions.
He further said NDA drugs inspectors from all the nine regions were in Lango sub-region to reinforce their team in the operations which lasted a week since Monday last week.