Detection of massive haul of date expired drugs prompts probes on others

by Dasun Edirisinghe

Following the detection of a massive haul of old medicinal drugs, fairness cream and vitamins repacked with fresh labels containing new expiry dates, at Attidiya on Tuesday, the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) yesterday said that it would inspect all drug stores run by private sector pharmacies countrywide. The consignment would have fetched as much as Rs. 500 mn if the racketeers had succeeded in releasing it to the market, the CAA said.

Addressing a media conference at the Sathosa Secretariat at Vaxuall Street, CAA Chairman Rumy Marzook said that the store owned by a well known chain of pharmacies was still under investigation and culprits would be produced in court soon.

He said that all pharmacies run by them would be inspected by CAA officials to check weather drugs, vitamins and cosmetics past shelf life had been released to their outlets after being repacked.

"Under the guidance of the Co-operatives and Internal Trade Minister Johnston Fernando, we decided to check all pharmacies countrywide," Marzook said.

Director General of the CAA J. M. A. Douglas said that law required pharmacies to be air-conditioned, but the large drug store raided on Tuesday had not even met that requirement.

He said that the CAA, together with the Health Ministry, would take action against pharmacies and drug stores that operated without air conditioning.

Consultant to the CAA Dr. Mahanama Rajamanthri said that consumers must be vigilant when purchasing medicinal drugs. They should not go by labels alone when purchasing goods, he said, urging the public to closely examine the packaging etc as well.

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