The drug crisis is man made

Dear Editor,

I noticed that in a recent release, re the now infamous pharmaceutical award to ANSA McAl, that “officials” from the Public Health Ministry (MoPH) have been quoted as saying that many of the drugs which are imported and supplied come from ‘Third World’ countries.

It’s a fact that the overwhelming number of drugs being imported outside of Europe and North America, come from India. The comment from the officials of the MoPH has to mean only one country, India.  I agree India is a Third World country, but not because a drug is from there means it’s poor quality or has been smuggled into Guyana. Third World India, depending on the yardstick you use, has the third to fifth largest economy in the world. It is responsible for hundreds of technical (albeit Third World) Guyanese scholarship graduates.  It provides tens of millions of Third World US dollars in grants and gifts to Guyana. It keeps the USA and UK economies as First World because of the brain power and financial investments it provides.

Guyana’s drug crisis ‒ I agree with Minister Lawrence ‒ is man made. Here is another factor: the Food and Drug Department (FDD). This department has slowed the importation of drugs into Guyana.  The piecemeal discoveries of missing documentation have caused long delays and increased costs.  This matter has been ventilated already in Kaieteur News.

Most of the original certificates and extra documentation that are required cost importers as much as US$500 and another US$200 demurrage, in addition to the time delays.  This coupled with the VAT of 14% will drive up the cost of medication by at least 25%.

I am confident that if the FDD had applied the same standards to ANSA McAl – ie for every item original certificates from the manufacturer along with the certificates from the originating country ‒ these emergency drugs would still not have been supplied!

Yours faithfully,

Manzoor Nadir

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