Health Workgroup concerned about the reselling of stolen drugs following looting

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Health Workgroup Business for South Africa has raised concerns over the reselling of stolen drugs in communities following the recent looting at pharmacies, distributors and wholesalers.

The organisation says more than 120 pharmacies were targeted in KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and Mpumalanga, and has warned of the dangers that these medicines pose to the general public.

Chairperson of the Health Group Doctor Stavros Nicolaou says vaccines were also looted.

“These medicines have been compromised now that they are no longer under the store and care of a pharmacy, and those medicines can have a harmful effect, they can end up causing side effects and other unwanted effects. So, if you are offered these medicines please do not take them,” says Nicolaou.

The Pharmacy Council has also urged members of the public not to buy medicine – including any vaccine doses that were stolen during the looting.

It says the looted items could cause harm if administered without the guidance of a pharmacist. Many pharmacies that were looted in townships face closure because of the financial losses.

Council CEO, Vincent Tlala says 131 pharmacies were looted in Kwazulu Natal and Gauteng.

“Roughly you require some of about a million to put up a pharmacy. So some of them might not be able to recover it might take two to three years to recover from this. What is worrying is that, for the last 10 years we have been trying to bring services to under serviced areas of the so called previously disadvantaged areas where we have pharmacies closer to the people, now they will have to take taxis to get their medicines” says Tlala.

In the video below, Vincent Tlala says the SA Pharmacy Council is distraught over the looting of pharmacies: