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Businessman found with K68 million medicines

The Magistrate’s Court in Mzuzu has fined a Malawian of Ugandan origin K500,000 for attempting to smuggle into the country medical drugs worth K67.5 million without requisite papers.

Amos Asiimwe was intercepted by a joint operation of the Malawi Police Service (MPS) and Pharmacy, Medicines and Poisons Board (PMPB) at Songwe Border in Karonga on February 25, 2017.

The drugs which did not have registration or licence numbers of the importer and were deemed counterfeit due to non-compliance with the PMPB Act, include 400 cartons of cough syrup and 1,377 cartons of Tumbocid.

The counterfeit drugs were intercepted in a 10-tonne truck belonging to Aluwenge Transport of Tanzania.

“Apparently, this has been going on for almost a year because the counterfeit drugs have been on the market since last year and this poses a health hazard to the people.

“We would like to find out how Asiimwe managed to get the consignment of the counterfeit drugs without proper documentation into the country,” a source privy to the matter said.

Northern Region Police Public Relations Officer, Peter Kalaya, confirmed the matter in an interview on Monday.

Kalaya said Asiimwe intended to open a pharmacy with the drugs.

“He was charged with importation of medical drugs without licence/counterfeiting which is contrary to Section 35 (1) as read with Section 35 (5) of the Pharmacy, Medicines and Poisons Act,” Kalaya said.

He said the court ordered that the drugs should be forfeited to the government through the PMPB. The drugs have since been burnt in Mzuzu jointly by the PMPB and the MPS.

In 2012, PMPB ordered all manufacturers, wholesalers, retail drug stores, veterinary stores and local agents to print licence or registration numbers of the importer on labels of medicinal products or risk losing them as they end up being deemed counterfeit.

This, according to a press statement released then, was done to protect the general public from unscrupulous traders or substandard medical drugs.

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