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Nov 30, 2017

Why G.O.B. Can’t Get Rid of Expired Meds Yet

Millions of dollars worth of medication are being stored in five containers at a Ministry of Health facility in Ladyville. The meds have expired; some are no longer used in the health system or were donated and of poor quality. The medications, we have learnt are to be discarded, disposed of by the Solid Waste Management Authority in collaboration with the Department of Environment. In some quarters, it is seen as another waste of money on the part of the government.  Director of Health Services Doctor Marvin Manzanero says there’s nothing awry and confirmed today that the medication is from both public and private sector pharmacies from across the country.

 

Marvin Manzanero

Dr. Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services

“There are containers of expired medication that are on the Central Medical Storage Compound in Ladyville. It’s been there for months actually and one of the reasons why it is there is because there is a process for us to be able to dispose of medications. That’s one. But the primary reason why it is still there is because there has to be an adequate process of disposing of those medication; you just can’t dump it as regular garbage.  So we are in discussions with the Solid Waste Management Authority, with the Department of Environment, to see what is the best mechanism to get rid of those so that it doesn’t contaminate, pollute your watersheds or any other potential place because it can pose a health hazard. And those are medications that have been there, that have been accumulating…it is not in the past six months, it’s not in the last years, it’s been years  that those have been accumulated in there. And it also has some expired medications that were donated or medications that were donated that were of poor quality; that were damaged. So I can’t tell you specific amounts because I don’t have those particular details. But it is donated, medication that was bought and expired, medication that was bought and not used because of a switch in regiment and different reasons why medications are there. But they are all expired. When you look at the current wastage we have, because we are going to try to be an efficient system, I mean there is always going to be room for improvement in terms of efficiency. So I can’t tell you the value figure because I don’t have it, but that’s not that we are buying medication just to put in a container because it expires on us. That’s not where it has been. As I said there are many reasons why medication was in there because people in the past were also accepting donated medication that weren’t even used in the country or if we were getting donated medication—it still happens—where people bring in a month supply for a given antidepressant and that medication is not marketed in Belize.”

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