Psychotropic hot-spot: Mauritius pharmacies blamed!

Psychotropic hot-spot: Mauritius pharmacies blamed!

February 27, 2018 0 By WFTV
psychotropic hot-spot

Dinally and Thomas receiving the Prix Nicolas Lambert 2017 award

Pharmacies in Mauritius are put into a psychotropic hot-spot by a report in a local newspaper, Le Dimanche/L’Hebdo.

The story relates to the fight against the traffic of psychotropic drugs in pharmacies.

The reaction from the authorities were immediate, said Eshan Dinally, the journalist who investigated the issue.

WFTV asked Dinally how did his article contribute to the busting of the drug business?

“Once the article published in the weekly Le Dimanche/L’Hebdo in October 2017, the Ministry of Health has reacted promptly.

“The Minister of Health called me to say he will do his best to put an end to this traffic,” he said.

Dinally said an an ad-hoc Committee was set up to decide on measures to be taken to fight the traffic.

It took less than a week to implement a series of measures. It really put the pharmacies in the  psychotropic hot-spot.

A Pharmacy Squad then carried surprise checks.

“Up to now, some 50 random checks have been done and the licence of six pharmacies has been suspended. This is prior to investigation by the Pharmacy Council and the police.

“The Ministry of Health is adamant on the respect of all regulation related to the sale of psychotropic drugs in pharmacies.”

Was it an investigative job?

According to Dinally the team did the investigative job over a month long period.

Additionally, he was assisted by a young colleague Fernando Thomas.

“We began the investigation by contacting pharmacists and employees of pharmacy not to talk about traffic.

“We did not want to antagonize them but we talk about the trend of sale of psychotropic drugs.”

“This trick was far from being a shield for us because some pharmacists. Mostly those involved in the traffic, suspected we were fishing for inside news,” he said.

On the contrary, he said, this exercise has enabled the team to separate the wheat from the chaff.

“By knowing who to trust and who to be wary of in the process of collection of information.

“Honest pharmacists and employees of pharmacies have exposed to us the mechanism of this traffic,” he told WFTV.

Furthermore the traffic he says consist of the sale of psychotropic drugs without prescriptions from a doctor.

On the black market, the prices rocks up to ten times.

“Then we moved to the second step of the investigation which is crucial consisting of
verifying all information received.

“We take on board some drug addicts in order to witness how it is easy to buy psychotropic drugs in pharmacies without prescription which is mandatory according to Regulations of the Ministry of Health.

“After this investigation on the field, we revert back to honest pharmacists to compare notes.”

However, to minimize the opportunities of abuse, a restricted number of psychotropic drug is provided per pharmacy.

Dinally told WFTV of the three outcomes of the investigation:
1.There is a complicity between doctors and drug addicts. Against payment, some doctors prescribe
psychotropic drugs to drug addicts.

2. Complicity between doctors and pharmacist. Against payment, some doctors provide for the need of records false prescription to pharmacists to match the drugs sold without prescriptions.

3. Complicity between pharmacists. Some pharmacists who project the image of Mr Clean sold psychotropic drugs to pharmacies when there is high demand.

Indeed, more is to come on this topic as we will keep an eye on the progress made in this psychotropic hot-spot story.

However, WFTV can say in advance the problem will not go away that easily.