Huge ‘Counterfeit Drugs’ Seized at Ganta Border

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The Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in collaboration with other security agencies at the Ganta border in Nimba County on Friday, August 28, seized a huge consignment of medicines from a truck belonging to a Guinean identified as Suah Bility.
The consignment was immediately turned over to the Liberia Medical and Dentist Council (LMDC), who has sole responsibility to scrutinize any medical-related supplies to determine whether the items are counterfeits or not.
At the turning over, the Regional Director of the LMDC, Joseph Coleman, described all of the drugs as “counterfeits.”
The ‘counterfeit drugs’, Director Coleman said, lacked many things, including trademarks, manufacture dates, and expiration dates, etc.
“Besides the Roberts International Airport and Freeport of Monrovia, drugs entering through any other port of entry will be checked or validated,” he said.
Mr. Coleman said before any drug enters the country, the importer has to present a document that will give the name of the pharmaceutical company that manufactured them, whether the company is accredited by legitimate government or authority to manufacture such items or whether such medicial items are also accredited by the World Health Organization (WHO).
He continued, “If it is done, sample of the drugs will be sent to the Liberia Medical Board for testing before the decision to allow or not to allow such product is taken by Ministry of Health.”
He said it is only at the two locations (RIA/Freeport) that the necessary equipment to test drugs, but said drugs entering outside of these two facilities are considered counterfeits or contrabands.
“Liberia has equipment that can check all medical drugs entering the country and these equipment will establish the quality, the country in which the drugs were produced, and the trade marks as well as the pharmaceutical company that produced the drugs,” he added.
“If we find out that the drugs are not valuable for human comsuption or has any side effect on patients, we will be able to trace the manufacturer, but in the case of these drugs, we do not have documentation to trace if they cause any harm,” he explained.
The drugs seized included, tablets of various kinds, eye drops, suspensions of all kinds, cough candies, etc.
The owners of the drugs were not present during the press conference.
However, the consignment was turned over to Mr. Coleman, who later loaded them onboard a Health Ministry pickup for delivery in Monrovia.
Some residents meanwhile expressed reservations as to why the seized drugs should leave Nimba County for Monrovia under the guise of investigation when the alleged crime was committed in the county.
In reaction, Mr. Coleman said to charge those allegedly connected to the importation of the drugs is the responsibility of the security, not the MOH.

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