LMHRA Board Chair Urges Honesty

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The Board Chair of the Liberia Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Authority, Madam Clavenda Bright-Parker, has admonished pharmacists across the country to be honest in all of their activities and not do those things that would put the lives of Liberians in danger.

She told pharmacists to desist from unscrupulous behaviors or activities that do not represent the interest of the profession and at times create a dark cloud over the profession in the eyes of the public. She said members of the profession are now being branded in the public sphere as people who only love money

Serving as an impromptu keynote speaker at the program marking the official opening of pharmacists week at a local resort outside Monrovia, Madam Bright-Parker, who is most often times reference as the mother of pharmacists in Liberia and the West African region, said the profession is being tainted black by some unscrupulous individuals for the purpose of money making.

The Pharmacists week is being organized by the Pharmacists Association of Liberia (PAL) in collaboration with the Pharmaceutical Board of Liberia (PBL) and others. The weekend celebration, which was comprised of a series of activities, kicked off yesterday and is anticipated to end on Friday. The celebration is being held under the theme: The Importance of Pharmacists in Post-Ebola Liberia Health System.

The Country Director of the World health Organization was invited to serve as keynote speaker at the opening, but he did not turned out, thus compelling LMHRA board chair to serve as a worthy proxy.

Madam Bright-Parker said many pharmacists, now a day, do not care for the wellbeing and safety of the Liberian people and would do anything, the importation and selling of substandard and counterfeit drugs, just to make profit. She said some of them would compromise their profession and their integrity for little or nothing. She termed this as total betrayal to the noble profession.

“Stop being unprofessional, take your profession seriously and make it better.”

She referred to pharmacists, who deliberately sell substandard drugs for the sole purpose of profit making instead of curing those who are sick, as murderers who will account for their actions before God on the Day of Judgment.

“You are a murderer when you sell drugs that are counterfeit and somebody dies as a result of that. As for me throughout my profession, I vowed not to make a mother cry. So in all fairness, let me do those things that will bring me modest earnings and not fraudulent wealth,” she said.

“Let us stop doing what we were not trained to do and not able to do because we are putting so many people’s lives at risk. I vowed not to make a mother or any other person cry as a result of my actions. When Liberia, a few years back, was known as a fertile ground for the importation of substandard or counterfeit drugs with about 75 percent of drugs in the country found in that category. The LMHRA vigilance over the last two years has seen little improvement in that direction. This effort has been under the leadership of Madam Parker as Board Chair of the LMHRA and the Director General, David Sumo.

Another issue that Madam Parker spoke about is the act of pharmacists getting involved in other medical procedures like abortion, circumcision and others that they are not professionally trained to perform.

She said: “It is not everything that you can do when you don’t have the technical knowhow and training to perform the tasks. When you do this you put the lives of the people at risk just because of your selfish-self aggrandizement.”

Madam Parker graduated from pharmaceutical school on June 11, 1960 in the United States and returned home. After briefly working for the government where she was earning a mere US$250.00 she decided to move into the private sector by establishing a pharmaceutical chain in the country including five wholesale pharmacies in Monrovia and other parts of the country.

She called on pharmacists to always strive to empower themselves, noting that they should not stop learning as the world continuously evolves.”We need to educate and update ourselves in disease prevention because we should now be prepared for any future infectious disease outbreak,” she said.

She told PAL and the Pharmaceutical Board of Liberia that nobody should be registered in the country as a pharmacist when he or she had not undergone two update sessions.

“PAL and others must prepared proper courses that will empower its members and keep them abreast of current events and up-to-date with present realities.”

She said government cannot absorb all of the pharmacists in the country in its employment, as such pharmacists must learned to venture into the private sector and invest more.

She called on her junior colleagues to stop the negativities against each other. “We need to stop the crab mentality in this country, especially in this our profession. It will not help us, but rather hurt us more. We need to celebrate each other’s successes and try to motivate one another and fight for the common interests of all pharmacists. With this, all of us will blossom and our profession will be admired by others.

Madam Parker, who described herself as an encourager, called on PAL PBL to try and bring on board senior students at the University of Liberia School of Pharmacy to served as motivation as well as for them to gain some level of experience.

She indicated that one cannot get bigger than their profession. “Always attend your association meeting and please make this an important part of your life,” she told the nearly 200 pharmacists and dispensers who attended the ceremony.

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