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Threats spur closure of illegal pharmacies

MOST of the city’s unlicenced pharmacies have agreed to close their doors after repeated warnings of an impending government crackdown on recalcitrant business owners, health officials said.

Sok Sokun, director of the Phnom Penh Municipal Health Department, said Tuesday that around 60 percent of the unlicenced dispensaries in Phnom Penh had closed under the government’s recent campaign.

Last week, City Hall empowered eight district authorities to combat unlicenced pharmacies in the capital. All 116 unlicenced pharmacies in
Phnom Penh have been given until the end of February to apply for legitimate licences with the Ministry of Health.

Sok Sokun said that most of the 116 businesses were running as annexes to registered medical clinics, and that he expected the owners of the clinics to quickly fall into line.

“When we start strict enforcement, they will follow us because doctors are intellectual people,” he said. “But if we are too loose [with enforcement], they will ignore us.”

He added: “If they continue to have unlicenced pharmacies in their clinics, the pharmacists will lose their careers.”

Meanwhile, district authorities across the city called unlicenced pharmacy owners to meetings on Monday to inform them about the current campaign and urged them to improve their compliance with health regulations.

Bi Nay, deputy governor of Meanchey district, said that her district had 21 unlicenced pharmacies that were part of legal clinics and other unregistered stand-alone businesses.

“Twenty one clinics were informed Monday that they must close their unlicenced pharmacies by the end of this week, and two registered for licences yesterday,” she said Tuesday.

Ly Rosamy, deputy governor of Russey Keo district, said that of the 23 unlicenced clinics selling medicines illegally in her district all had agreed to stop dispensing drugs.

“If they violate the contract by having pharmacies without getting licences, they will face punishment according to the law,” she said.
“All of them have agreed to close their illegitimate pharmacies.”

She said that clinics were targeted to ensure that no fake or expired drugs were sold.

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