Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony has voiced his concerns over the rampant and indiscriminate sale of antibiotics by pharmacies, describing it as senseless and detrimental. Addressing the issue, he announced that a new law, the Medicine Regulations Bill, is currently being drafted to curb these and other practices.

Speaking recently at the 21st annual Pharmacists Convention at the Pegasus Hotel and Corporate Suite in Kingston, Georgetown, Dr. Anthony emphasized the urgency of the situation. The new bill, developed with the assistance of the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), aims to streamline the food and drug administration system, notably through computerization.

The draft bill includes stringent measures for the registration of medications, monitoring side effects, and ensuring the correct supply of antibiotics. Dr. Anthony stressed the importance of monitoring and reporting medication side effects, highlighting the variability in individual responses.

Counterfeit medications also pose a significant problem, which the new bill seeks to address. “We want to take a formal stand on the falsification of medication. Counterfeit medications can create serious problems in patient management, and we aim to eliminate them from the system,” Dr. Anthony stated.

A major highlight of the minister’s remarks was the issue of antibiotics being sold without proper prescriptions. This practice, he noted, significantly contributes to the development of antimicrobial resistance, a growing global health threat. “We have had cases where patients develop resistance to many medications. Indiscriminate use of antibiotics will only accelerate this issue,” he emphasized.

The new regulation is expected to strengthen legal enforcement, addressing gaps in the current law and enhancing the ability to tackle the improper sale of antibiotics.

Globally, efforts are underway to establish a political declaration on antimicrobial resistance. In September, a high-level meeting at the United Nations will see the creation of an inter-governmental panel to monitor this critical issue.


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