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Expired meds missing: officials

People collect expired medication after it has been cleared from a stockpile in Svay Rieng province
People collect expired medication after it has been cleared from a stockpile in Svay Rieng province on Wednesday. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Expired meds missing: officials

Officials from Svay Rieng’s provincial health department are rounding up expired medications that medical staff and villagers are believed to have pocketed while clearing a stockpile near the provincial hospital on Wednesday, local health officials said yesterday.

Provincial medical staff alerted the provincial health department after concerns were raised that villagers and medical staff involved in clearing the warehouse in Svay Rieng district were taking expired supplies and distributing them to sick family members, Ker Rotha said yesterday, director of Svay Rieng’s provincial health department.

“We are concerned that people may use the expired medicine, which could seriously affect their health, so we ordered the provincial hospital director to fetch the medication back,” Rotha said, adding that all expired medical supplies would be incinerated.

The expired medical stock includes, but is not limited to, a variety of serums, pills, skin gels and oxygen tubes, officials told the Post yesterday.

Most internationally donated medical supplies are already near expiration when they arrive in the Kingdom through Sihanoukville Autonomous Port, according to Chan Dara, director of the provincial hospital located in Svay Rieng commune, leaving a small window for medical officials to distribute the medication properly.

“These medicines can only be used for a short period of time,” Dara said, adding that shipments are often stored for two or three months in-country before being distributed to hospitals, considerably narrowing the viability of medications before they reach the sick.

Dara was unable to confirm the quantity of missing expired medical supplies yesterday.

“The officials from the [provincial] health department will inspect this case on Thursday afternoon,” he said.

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