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The Fiji Times »Obsolete Medicine

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The Consumers Council of Fiji is reminding pharmacies and other drug retailers to take expired drugs off the shelves and not to sell them to consumers.

This comes after an over-the-counter (OTC) drug recently purchased by a consumer at a pharmacy in Suva is found to have expired.

According to Seema Shandil, chief executive officer of the Consumers Council of Fiji, the consumer made the discovery when he checked the expiration date of the product after consuming the drug.

She said the consumer was surprised to see that the drug sold to her on December 4, 2021 had already expired in September 2021.

“If you own a pharmacy, be sure to practice within stipulated laws and not engage in fraudulent practices such as selling expired drugs,” she said.

“A well-run pharmacy or pharmacy would have procedures in place to ensure that expired and near expiration products are removed from the shelves. “

It was said that the council launched an investigation after the above matter was reported and appropriate compensation was paid to the consumer by the pharmacy in question.

It was revealed during investigations that the pharmacy in question had not specified the name of the drug on the receipt issued to the consumer. The receipt, as proof of purchase, was invalidated and the drug was entered as a “refill” on the receipt.

“By failing to specify the name or itemize over-the-counter drugs on receipts, pharmacies are infringing consumers’ right to redress and the right to be informed,” Ms. Shandil said.

“This means that if consumers are sold expired drugs or bad drugs and return to the pharmacy for redress, the pharmacies can just say they didn’t sell the drugs.

“It is quite a disturbing practice.”

After the board notified the pharmacy, intensive monitoring of all major pharmacies in the country was carried out. It was discovered that four of 14 pharmacies surveyed in the central division did not list the name of over-the-counter drugs on receipts.

All the pharmacies surveyed in the West and North divisions would have specified the name of the drugs on the receipts.

The CCoF said that for prescribed drugs, pharmacies could refrain from listing the drug’s name on receipts for reasons of consumer privacy, but must still include the prescription number.

Finally, the council urged consumers to file a complaint against any pharmacy or medical drug retailer that sells expired products or does not list the name of the over-the-counter drug on receipts.

Consumers can report the issue through the council’s National Consumer Helpline 155 or by emailing [email protected]

Consumers could also lodge their complaints using the mobile app of the Fiji Consumers Council.