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Editorial CommentOpinion & Analysis

Toying with drugs is toying with life

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The medical profession is not called a specialised area for nothing; it needs people who are well versed in medical issues to carry through the task of bringing those riddled with bad health back to good health.

In fact, serving in the medical profession has traditionally been considered a special call, as those who toil so that others can enjoy good health are driven by compassion other than the need to make quick money; hence, as opposed to fields such as communication, agriculture and education, among others, some of those who work in the medical profession take an oath.

All this serves to show that medial issues are no laughing matters.

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Which is why we are saddened, and, in the same breath, shocked to learn of the deplorable behaviour of some people who are selling expired antiretroviral drugs (ARVs). What is worse? The ARVs are those stolen from public hospitals; meaning, taxpayers’ money is involved.

In this case, we find fault with those who facilitate the theft of the drugs as well as those who use them. In the first place, the fact that some parts of the country are remotely located does not justify the use of expired ARVs for, contrary to the wishes of those who consume them— who definitely want to prolong their lives— the opposite holds true.

Expired drugs— ARVs or not— cut life short and put the government’s resources to waste because people who would still contribute significantly to national development die, leaving behind orphans or people who were looking up to them. It is the government, through its many social interventions, and other well-wishers that take over the responsibility.

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Again, those who consume expired drugs— in cases where they survive— seek remedies in public health facilities that are oiled by taxpayers’ money, meaning that the government and others who had nothing to do with the expired drugs are forced to cough money. This is counter-productive.

We also feel that members of the public are losing touch with their rightful role in society, which is to report wrongdoers to the authorities for the wheels of justice to roll.

Moving forward, it is incumbent upon the Ministry of Health and law-enforcement agencies to sensitise members of the public to the folly of consuming expired drugs. Actually, this is an issue the Ministry of Civic Education may jump on, instead of wasting precious time addressing issues related to partisan politics.

As for the police, keep up the good work. People who steal and sell expired drugs have no place in a civilised society.

Together, we can deal with perpetrators of the vice.

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