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Pharmacy crackdown

Pharmacy crackdown

PHNOM Penh authorities will shut down nine illegal pharmacies that have refused to stop selling counterfeit drugs, health officials said Sunday, warning that another 100 unlicensed retailers in the capital also face closure.

“We told them many times already to get a licence and not to sell counterfeit drugs, but they did not listen to us,” said Sok Sokun, director of the municipal Health Department.

“The last choice we have is to shut them down.”

Sok Sokun said an additional 100 pharmacies in the capital that operate without licences will be put on notice as well, although he did not specify a timeline.

The crackdown highlights what industry officials have described as a long-running problem with counterfeit pharmaceuticals in the Kingdom, including black-market abortion pills that health experts say have led to severe injuries and even death.

Authorities say they have tried to intervene by urging pharmacies to register with the Ministry of Health.

Only half of the country’s estimated 2,000 pharamacies have been registered, officials said in September. In Phnom Penh, the ratio is slightly better: 155 of 527 pharmacies in the capital are unlicensed, according to the city’s counterfeit drugs committee.

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