FIVE illegal pharmacies were shut down in Phnom Penh late last month after failing to meet an April 25 deadline to register with the Health Ministry, and a further four are likely to be closed, a health official said after a meeting at City Hall on Monday.
Sok Sokun, director of the Phnom Penh Health Department, said the owners of the nine unlicenced pharmacies were discovered to have been selling fake drugs.
The five pharmacies “were shut down after we filed a complaint late last year asking the municipal court to shut down those illegal pharmacies because they refused to stop selling fake drugs,” he said, and added that he expected that the other four pharmacies would be shut down but did not know when this might happen.
Earlier this year, unlicenced pharmacies were given until February 28 to apply for licences from the ministry or face closure as part of a government crackdown. The deadline was later extended to April 25, but Sok Sokun said the nine pharmacies failed to meet both deadlines.
He said that around 50 of Phnom Penh’s 527 pharmacies are still unlicenced, and that health officials will continue the crackdown until all of them are registered.
“City Hall and health officials are cooperating with each other to eliminate all illegal pharmacies from our country, because we want to reinforce the health services for the people, and we don’t want to have illegal pharmacies anymore,” he said.
Phnom Penh Deputy Governor Chan Sam An, who led the meeting with health officials on Monday, declined to comment when reached by phone afterwards.
The United States Pharmacopeia (USP), an American government-funded organisation that sets quality standards for medicines, reported in April that Cambodian health officials had closed nearly 65 percent of illegal pharmacies across the country between November 2009 and this past March.