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May 12, 2014

Pharmacists’ Association calls for proper, transparent testing protocols

Marisol Melhado

One other area where there is significant discord is the testing of pharmaceuticals which are brought into the country. The Ministry of Health insists that proper testing protocols are in place, and in fact are being strengthened. The Pharmacists’ Association, Chief Pharmacist Sharon Anderson and Director of Health Services Michael Pitts have all indicated that that is not so. It’s not a trivial matter, since those pharmaceuticals can quite literally kill. Today, Vice President of the Pharmacists’ Association Marisol Melhado renewed the call for proper, transparent testing protocols.


Marisol Melhado, Vice-President, Pharmacists’ Association of Belize

“We need all types of testing in all different areas whenever medication is being released…when it’s coming into your country, when it’s being distributed and the feedback that she is referring to. You can’t just depend on the feedback at the very end. You have to be vigilant at all stages of it. This is not a sweet coming out of the manufacturer…whether it is consistent or whether it is hard enough that the child can eat it or whatever. This is not talking about sweets…this is talking about people’s lives. So you need to be more vigilant and that is what we’re saying, that whatever vigilance that they have is not adequate enough and we question if there is such…they speak that they do have. I’m not certain. We want to think that yes, they are doing this amount, but it’s not enough. We want to see that there’s a protocol addressed and in place. That is not done whenever the Pharmacist Association decides to speak out on it. But it is a protocol…whether I am here today, or whether I am not here tomorrow. If Dr. Allen and the Ministry of Health would like to strengthen the regulations that are in right now, there is supposed to be a protocol. Whether he is in there ten years from now or not…a protocol is supposed to exist and the general public is supposed to be aware that this is what happens with the products coming into the country for the public sector. And it shouldn’t only be for the public sector, it should be for all sectors. Whatever comes into the country should be of standard.”


News Five understands that currently any testing or inspection of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies are done when those items are already in country, and not at the point of entry.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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