90 pharmacies lost to looting sprees
SA Pharmacy Council warns of health risk in addition to economic losses
The SA Pharmacy Council has sounded a warning over the unprescribed use of medications after the looting of pharmacies.
The regulator said it was both distraught and disappointed at the looting sprees in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
As at Wednesday, more than 90 pharmacies “have been destroyed and looted beyond revival,” with KwaZulu-Natal being the hardest hit.
There is a health risk in addition to the economic losses sustained, said the regulator's registrar/CEO Vincent Tlala.
“Among the looted items are Covid-19 vaccines and scheduled medicines, which when used without proper pharmacist counselling on storage and dosage, may result in harm to one’s health.”
The owner of a small medical centre in the Diepkloof mall in Soweto, Dr Thabile Vezi, arrived at work on Tuesday July 13 2021 to discover that her business had been overrun and looted.
He urged those who had stolen medicines and health products to not use them, nor give them to other people, “but rather return them to their nearest pharmacy for proper disposal”.
The council voiced its worry at the loss of pharmaceutical care in the affected areas, as in most cases, it said, there would be prolonged closures.
“We call on South Africans to refrain from destroying healthcare infrastructure or disrupting healthcare services for any reason,” said Tlala.
“Such actions reverse the difficult gains we have made in increasing the accessibility of care to previously underserved communities. It also puts the lives of citizens in these communities at risk.”