Ministry of Health Operation Cracks Drug Theft Ring

Drug Theft Ring
Drug Theft Ring

THE Ministry of Health has made a major breakthrough in cracking an illegal ring of drug thieves that have been stealing medicine meant for public health institutions and selling it for a profit on the black market.
The ministry, which established a task force aimed at reducing the rampant thefts so that Zambians can access subsidised drugs in public health centres and hospitals, has since confiscated the stash of drugs that include IV fluid from a chemist-cum-private hospital in Chipata township in Lusaka, according to a top government official.
What is worse, however, is that the illegal chemist-cum-private clinic identified as Bimillah Aramanaraim has also allegedly been conducting all manner of medical practices illegally, including conducting abortions, said Ministry of Health deputy director of pharmaceutical services Mr Chikuta Mbewe.
“The government has in the past been made to look bad in the eyes of the public because patients have been turned away from hospitals due to shortages created by thieves working amongst ourselves,” Mr Mbewe said.
The deputy director added that an “inside job” cannot be ruled out and the task force working with police will work round-the-clock to capture the ‘fake’ doctor, who ran the out-fit in Chipata so that he can lead them to his source at Medical Stores.
“There is a booming illegal medical practice behind the so-called chemist where the man suspected to be Congolese has been running a fully-fledged medical practice, conducting under-five clinics and aborting services,” Mr Mbewe said.
“We have just confiscated a lot of drugs from the drugstore and the cost runs into millions of Kwacha,” Mr Mbewe said.
“These medicines are meant for Government health institutions.”
Mr Mbewe said in an interview in Lusaka that pilfering of drugs from Government clinics and hospitals has become rampant and that the ministry has taken it upon itself to probe the thefts.
He said it is unfortunate that people can steal drugs meant for patients attending Government health centres to support their businesses.
“The owner apparently has been conducting medical activities behind the drugstore, which stocks the stolen drugs and we have notified the Medical Professions Council of Zambia,” Mr Mbewe said.
Mr Mbewe said it is dangerous for a person with no training in medicine to conduct abortions and run a chemist while endangering scores of unsuspecting members of the public.
He bemoaned the extent at which the pilfering of drugs from government clinics has been going on, saying Government is losing a lot of money through the vice.
“Our task force believes that what we have found here in Chipata is but a tip of an iceberg,” Mr Mbewe said. “We believe this could be widespread in Lusaka and needs stopping.”