All medication containing pseudoephedrine is being removed from the shelves at local stores on Ambergris Caye. The initiative is part of a country wide action by the Ministry of Health to stop shops from selling medication with pseudoephedrine since it should only be sold by licensed pharmacists. As such, the Health Inspector on Ambergris Caye has been visiting stores confiscating medication with pseudoephedrine content.
Speaking to The San Pedro Sun, Lisa Tillett, Health Inspector at the Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro PolyClinic II, said that shops are not authorized to sell medication with the given drug content. “We have been confiscating all antibiotics and drugs containing pseudoephedrine from all the stores. These drugs should only be sold by licensed pharmacist and with a prescription. What is happening is that we have stores on the island selling these drugs and it is very dangerous for people to buy them, especially if they don’t know to use them, or it hasn’t been prescribed to them by a doctor,” said Tillett.
The confiscation of such medication has been ongoing for some time now but was done on a small scale. However, Tillett explained, that there are many more stores selling drugs with pseudoephedrine content. “We have to begin cracking down on these stores,” she added. Some of the medications with pseudoephedrine include DayQuil and NyQuil and most cold and flu medication as well as antibiotics. “Stores have been warned on several occasions. What happen is that we have people, licensed to sell these drugs on a whole sale basis, doing so to stores. The licensed druggists are not informing shop owners that it is illegal for them to sell these drugs in a store. These drugs must not be sold by the common salesperson; only by a registered and license pharmacist,” said Tillett.
The Health Inspector said that under the laws governing pharmacists in Belize, shop owners found with any drugs that requires prescription and which can only be sold by a pharmacist, can be charged and taken to court. For the time being, that is not being pursued, as only warning is being given to shop owners. Approximately 30 boxes of medication containing pseudoephedrine have been confiscated from shop owners on Ambergris Caye. The majority of the products confiscated originated from Guatemala.San Pedro Sun