Unregistered pharmaceuticals originate from Dominican Republic;

Two wholesalers unlicensed and to be fined

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – Inspectorate of Health, Social Development & Labour (VSA), while carrying out public health safety inspections on February 10, confiscated a wide range of unregistered pharmaceuticals originating from the Dominican Republic, from two businesses on the island.

One of the goals of the Inspectorate VSA is to clamp down on the illegal importation and distribution of pharmaceuticals on the island in order to protect the health, safety and well being of the country. 

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Both businesses are not in the possession of a pharmaceutical wholesaler’s license which makes it illegal for them to import pharmaceuticals. The pharmaceuticals in question were also unregistered which means that they have not been evaluated on efficacy, safety and quality.

The safety can therefore not be guaranteed which puts consumers at risk. Some of the pharmaceuticals were poorly packaged and lacking package inserts.

One of the businesses has been operating on the Dutch side of the island for over 20 years and is not registered at the Chamber of Commerce nor are they in possession of a business license.

Both businesses will be fined. They continue to operate selling cosmetics and beauty products.

The generic version of the well known drug used for erectile dysfunction; Viagra, which is marketed as the active ingredient Sildenafil, was among some of the pharmaceuticals confiscated.

Other unregistered pharmaceuticals that were confiscated were anabolic steroids, different types of antibiotics in different formulations such as Ampicilline tablets, Metronidazole suspensions as well as vaginal ovules and Uromycine suppositories, unregistered painkillers in prescription strengths such as Ibuprofen 800mg tablets, Diclofemed 100mg (dicolfenac), Cataflam 50mg (diclofenac) as well as cough syrups and anti flu medication.

The pharmaceuticals confiscated from one of the businesses were shipped disguised with beauty products and other cosmetics and came in pre-labelled boxes to be distributed to businesses on the Dutch and French sides of the island.

Both businesses have been previously warned by the Inspectorate of Public Health about the importation of pharmaceuticals without a license. The purpose of having a license is to reduce the risk of market contamination with counterfeit products that may contain inappropriate quantities of the active ingredients or may contain ingredients that are not on the label (which may or may not be harmful). This is why it is imperative that licensed pharmaceutical wholesalers get their pharmaceuticals directly from the manufacturer, Inspector of Pharmaceuticals Ashanti van Heyningen told DCOMM.

"Another purpose of having a license to import is because the quality of pharmaceutical products can be affected by a lack of adequate control over numerous activities which occur during the distribution process.

"Licensed pharmaceutical wholesalers are therefore required to adhere to specific requirements pertaining to the transport and storage conditions (temperature, humidity etc.) of pharmaceuticals in order to maintain the original quality," Inspector of Pharmaceuticals Ashanti van Heyningen added.

Inspectorate VSA as part of its regulatory responsibilities is responsible for compliance monitoring and enforcement activities related to environmental hygiene, food safety, occupational health and safety, pharmaceuticals, day care centres and health care.

Public assistance will go a long way in Inspectorate VSA being able to investigate and help solve many infringements.

Persons have the opportunity to pass at the Inspectorates Office located at Kanaal Steeg #1 (above Diamond Casino which is located across from the RBTT Bank) between 8.00am – 12.00pm and 1.00pm to 5.00pm to file a complaint. You can also call 542-2078, 542-2058, 542-3580, fax 542-2936 or email: in**************@si************.org