Health minister cautions pharmacies on using unqualified personnel

The Minister for Health, Dr. Diane Gashumba has warned pharmacies against employing unqualified staff, a practice that she said puts at risk people’s lives.

She said this following the decision by the ministry to close Ravi Pharmacy in Kicukiro District which was sanctioned for having an employee that was not a qualified pharmacist.

“We took the decision to temporarily close that pharmacy given the grave mistake they made. This is not acceptable because it put people’s lives at risk. We are actually working on amending the law to prescribe harsher punishments for those that flout this,” she said.

According to her, the punishments will go up to permanent closure depending on the nature and gravity of offense committed on top of sanctioning the person who is found illegally practicing.

The National Pharmacy Council recently conducted a survey on pharmacies and found that some have employees that are not qualified, adding that their survey found some of them either studied economics or nursing, which the council describes as a risk to patients who purchase medicines.

The minister emphasized that employing an economist in a pharmacy to distribute medicine, is a criminal offense and called on everyone to denounce whoever that is doing so.

Owners of some pharmacies have also been put on the spot for lack of follow up on the day-to-day running of their pharmacies.