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Complaint needed for pharmacy crackdown

THE Municipal Health Department must file a formal complaint before municipal authorities can take action against unlicensed pharmacies operating in Phnom Penh, a court official said Sunday.

Although the Health Department sent a letter to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court in December regarding the issue, Municipal Court prosecutor Sok Koylan said there can be no investigation unless there is a formal complaint.

“We have … received a suggestion letter from the department to close those unlicensed pharmacies,” he said, adding that an official complaint has yet to be filed.

While many illegally operating pharmacies have asked for licences, nine local pharmacies have ignored requests by the Department of Municipal Health to obtain a licence, Sok Koylan said.

“Unlicenced pharmacies are very harmful to public health,” Sok Koylan said. “Besides, in the eyes of the law it affects social order and we lose customs.”

Sok Sokun, chief of the Municipal Health Department, said his office is part of a nationwide effort on the part of the government to close unlicensed establishments and set standards for the industry. “This is just the first stage,” he said. “We submitted a letter to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court a few weeks ago, and we are awaiting their response.”

According to an annual report released by the Ministry of Health in December, Cambodia had more than 2,000 pharmacies operating in 2009.

Some 1,200 pharmacies were opened legally, while around 1,000 were found to be unlicensed.

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