Mushrooming pharmacies in Hambantota district is causing concern among the residents.
According to the Food and Drugs Act of the Ministry of Health the first and foremost requirement to run a pharmacy is the availability of a qualified pharmacist. The Act also states that the certificate of the said pharmacist should be exhibited prominently.
In Tangalla, Beliatta, Walasmulla, Weeraketiya, Middeniya and a host of other towns there are pharmacies without qualified pharmacists and many of these places are managed by those who do not have even a basic knowledge of drugs. On a number of occasions wrong dispensing had caused problems to patients as well as their near and dear ones.
These illegal pharmacies are run with the blessings of some food and drugs inspectors who appear to turn a blind eye to all these malpractices.
In Tangalla about three weeks ago an illegal pharmacy was commissioned close to the private clinic of a government doctor attached to Tangalla District Hospital. In the evening when the private dispensary is open touts from the pharmacy are sent to persuade patients who come to the hospital or their relatives to buy drugs from the new pharmacy.
When `The Island` inquired of this unhealthy situation from the Regional Director of Health, Hambantota he said that he was aware of the situation and letters of warning had been issued to those pharmacies to have a qualified pharmacist or to terminate business. He also admitted that due to certain loopholes in the law his hands were tied.