Society: Fiji needs to monitor consumers

Clandestine Lab at Laucala Beach in 2004. Picture: Supplied

THE Fiji Pharmaceutical Society (FPS) says Fiji should implement monitoring mechanisms to help identify consumers who purchase medicine from pharmacies with the intention of sourcing or manufacturing illicit and synthetic drugs such as methamphetamine.

This follows concerns over the possibility of scrupulous local pharmacists supplying organised criminal groups and individuals with precursor chemicals used to produce meth clandestine labs.

“The FPS supports the implementation of monitoring programs similar to those already in place in Australia and New Zealand that ensures control and tracking of persons purchasing the products in question,” FPS president Reshnika Sen said.

“This could be done through a linked online database which requires pharmacists to note down the ID’s of each customer who purchases these products as well as the quantity. This would however require government support.”

Ms Sen said another issue that needed addressing was rehabilitating abusers of meth and other illicit drugs.

“What we as health professionals are concerned about is who to report to should drug abusers and addicts be identified.

Also, how do we rehabilitate them? In most developed countries, there are rehabilitation centres which help people to rehabilitate and quit drugs.

So far no such facility exists in Fiji.” She said precursor drugs for meth production is classified as Schedule 3 medicine, which only pharmacists can dispense when a doctor’s prescription is produced.

“This, however, is at the discretion of the pharmacists but from a professional standpoint, of course if a pharmacist is identified as an aide in allowing criminals to make methamphetamine, then society will like justice to take its course and possible de-registration of the pharmacist.

“To prevent such incidences from happening and as a control measure, the society through its reps have requested the Fiji Medicinal Products Board for more vigilance, restriction and monitoring of the precursor medicines.”

She said FPS looked after professional standards, welfare and professional development of its members and will work together with stakeholders to ensure members are well informed about issues and concerns in the sector and help bring about better compliance and adherence to policies that safeguard the public interest.

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