Committees seek drug trafficking solutions
Al-Hakami said medicine monitoring is the responsibility of the local councils in the governorates; the SBDMA's responsibility is limited to supervising medicine plants in Yemen.
"The problem is pharmacy owners buy medicine from street vendors, not from official agencies accountable to the Ministry of Public Health and Population."
Al-Hakami said the numerous offices monitoring medicine is a problem as well, and combating drugs trafficking requires strict punitive monitoring.
"If there is not a strong deterrent, this phenomenon cannot be eliminated. Thus, issuing a law organizing pharmacies and drugs is immediately required."
Yemeni experts in the field of public health warned against a health catastrophe due to the increase in smuggled drugs that unprecedentedly broke into the Yemeni market during the last period, particularly from 2011 to 2012.
These warnings coincided with a government report revealing that smuggled medicines make up 60 percent of the local drug market.
The report indicated that Yemenis spend $177 million annually on drugs made locally or imported from abroad.
However, there are no precise statistics about size or scale of drug trafficking. The SBDMA's reports indicate there are 45 kinds of drugs that enter Yemen illegally every year. The SBDMA gives a notice of these drugs' names and categories so as to be confiscated.
In the last ten years, the SBDMA and the Ministry of Public Health and Population caught more than 1,175 pharmacies in Sana'a and other governorates in possession of counterfeit drugs.
Expert pharmacists and doctors said counterfeit drugs are a real threat to the health of the public and herald a health catastrophe because some health issues need special care such as strokes, cancer and liver and kidney disorders. The wrong treatment could aggravate the health situation of the patient, they said.
Mohammed Al-Aolafi, a doctor in a Sana'a government hospital, said the incorrect use of antibiotics could cause kidney failure, immune system and the digestive system diseases and cancer, which could all result in death.
He said smuggled drugs to Yemen are inappropriate for medical use because they are either expired or decayed due to the storage and shipment processes when transferred in poor conditions.