Faced with the challenge of receiving drugs with a short shelf-life, concerns were raised before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) this morning about whether expired medicines are being distributed to residents in hinterland communities.
Opposition Parliamentarian Juan Edghill was the first to raise concerns about the distribution of expired drugs in Region Seven given that the issue was flagged in the 2016 Auditor General Report.
“If we have drugs in a main bond with a short shelf-life then it should not be sent to the interior locations,” Edghill said.
According to the Auditor General Report, checks within the region revealed that there were 23 types of expired drugs that are still being stored.
Regional Health Officer, Dr Edward Segala updated the PAC that the drugs have since been destroyed.
He noted that the region has taken steps to monitor expiration date of drugs arriving in the region.
But Dr Segala said this is often a challenge given the unique geography of the region.
“The system is a challenging one. For example, at the level of a hospital where you have a pharmacist…it is much easier to notice and to tell whether a particular medication is going to expire within a certain timeframe…the challenge though would come from the far-flung areas, in our case, Upper Mazaruni and Middle Mazaruni where there is no pharmacist…so supervision can be quite challenging,” he explained.
To this end, Edghill urged that more be done to ensure that drugs with a short shelf life are not sent to hinterland communities.
According to the PAC Member, the region is responsible for ensuring that public services offered to residents in the hinterland are no different from that offered on the coastland.