The Yangon Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the Ministry of Health and Sports has slapped three-month suspensions on three pharmacies for selling 13 unlicensed drugs, an agency official said.
The pharmacies, located in Shwe Pyae Sone market in Mingalar Taung Nyunt township, were found to have violated the country’s food and drug safety regulations during a routine inspection conducted by FDA officials.
“We regularly conduct surprise inspections in the markets and will take legal action if we find shops selling illegal, unregistered, expired, or fake drugs and other products,” U Min Wun, director of the Yangon FDA, said.
U Min Wun said that first-time offenders face a three-month licence suspension, second-time offenders face a six-month suspension, and third-time offenders are brought to court.
The Yangon FDA is urging the public to report any shops or websites selling unregistered, illegal or fake drugs and products.
Yangon FDA officials conduct random inspections of at least 32 pharmacies in two townships every month to ensure that they sell only registered drugs.
The National Food Law prohibits the production, import or export, sale or distribution of products that can be harmful to public health. Violators can be punished with up to three years in prison, a fine not exceeding K300,000 (about US$200), or both.
Daw Yee Yee Tin, rector of the University of Pharmacy in Yangon, warned that illegal antibiotics, painkillers and steroids can cause health problems such as multi-drug resistance, rising blood sugar, diabetes and osteoporosis.
“The public should be aware that combining drugs, especially unregistered, expired, or fake drugs, is not safe and can be very dangerous. Nobody should use them,” she said.
The Yangon FDA said that its officials seized illegal, unregistered, expired, or fake drugs in about 30 percent of pharmacies in the region in the first eight months of the year.