The South African Pharmacy Council (SAPC) said it is distraught by the looting of pharmacies and the destruction of health care services. The regulator is urging the public not to buy medicine that was stolen during the looting in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, warning that the improper use of the COVID-19 vaccine or other medicine could cause harm if administered without professional guidance.
MORE THAN 90 PHARMACIES LOOTED
The Council said more than 90 pharmacies “have been destroyed and looted beyond revival,” in KZN and Gauteng with the former being the province hardest hit. The looted items included coronavirus vaccines and scheduled medicines, which may cause harm if used without proper pharmacist counselling on storage and dosage, according to the Council.
“As such, we urge those who looted these medicines and health products to not use them or give to other persons but rather return them to their nearest pharmacy for proper disposal. We also caution members of the public to only source medicines from legitimate health establishments such as pharmacies,” said Vincent Tlala, the Registrar and CEO of SAPC.
The Council is concerned about the effect the loss of pharmaceutical care will have on the affected areas as they will experience temporary and even prolonged closures of pharmacies. Tlala said the majority of the impacted pharmacies are independently owned.
“We are further disappointed at the possible loss of employment and livelihoods for pharmacists and support personnel employed by the affected pharmacies,” said Tlala.
The SAPC called on South Africans to refrain from damaging healthcare infrastructure and disrupting service delivery in the sector for any reason as it ruins healthcare accessibility in underserved communities and places lives at risk.