By Ali KhouryFor the first time, Egyptian authorities are offering pharmacists a free night time drug supply for the first 100 patients who come to their pharmacies.
The national health service said on Tuesday it will offer free night medicines to residents who get the first 10 prescriptions for night drugs from a licensed pharmacist in the central province of Minya.
“This is the first step towards offering the same level of night medicine to all Egypt’s citizens in the coming months,” health ministry director-general Mohamed el-Ghadbous said in a statement.
The move comes a day after the country’s health ministry warned that some pharmacies were selling pills in the dark for between R1,200 and R2,000, and that a “significant” number of patients were not receiving proper night medicine.
Some of the pharmacies have also been selling medicines in the open, in places where the law requires pharmacies to remain closed.
“The problem is that some are selling pills on the streets in the middle of the night, without informing patients,” El-Ghadbous added.
“The number of pharmacies selling pills without informing the patient is unacceptable.”
El-Ghoury also announced that the national health ministry would continue its campaign to increase the number of pharmacists and pharmacies in the country.
The campaign, dubbed ‘the revolution of the pharmacist’, aims to raise awareness among citizens of the importance of obtaining a pharmacy license and to educate them about the importance and necessity of having a pharmacist who is in charge of prescribing medication in the home, in the hospital, and in the community.
“We have been trying to educate people about the necessity of a pharmacy license for the last five years,” El Ghoury said.
“We have also taken up the fight against drugs on the internet, with the aim of increasing awareness among the public.”
The National Pharmacy Board is expected to submit its first-quarter report in December, and El Ghadbrous said the ministry would make a decision on its future in mid-January.