"Drug sellers" become "pharmacists" in Idlib, and their crimes are unstoppable

Drugs and medicines are sold without a license in Idlib province through "drug sellers"

She was going to a pharmacy in the town of Hass in Idlib countryside, one day in February 2017, to dispense a prescription for her allergic eye. After buying the drug and using it, she was surprised by the swelling of her eye, where the pharmacist gave her a dermatitis cream instead of the required medication, leading to transferring her to a specialist doctor.

This is one of the dozens of scenes that are exposed to the people in Idlib governorate due to poor prescribing drugs. In light of the security chaos and lack of supervision, dozens of unqualified citizens opened shops to sell medicine in their areas without any previous experience in this profession, which led to the occurrence of victims, often due to ignorance of the seller of the type of medication necessary to give to the patient.

Om Khalid said that the medication given to her caused her to lose part of the vision in the infected eye continued for several months. After using dozens of medications and visiting the doctor several times, she recovered some of her vision in the right eye.

"We filed a complaint against the drug seller who dispensed the prescription, but he justified his position that he had made a mistake in the name of the drug and that he was prepared to take the resulted damage.", added Om Khalid, "as if it can make a difference". 

* The drugs are sold openly and promises to arrest the offenders

Not only Om Khalid, in the town of Armanaz, south of Idlib, there is a pharmacy that sells a sedative drug for the people and is managed by a man who formerly worked for the electricity company. The pharmacy became a hotbed for addicts, as a result of giving them "Tramadol" pills, which can only be dispensed with prescriptions by doctors.

In April 2017, the young man, "Mohammed al-Jamil," 29, went daily to the pharmacy to buy an anesthetic. Of course, the seller did not mind giving him medicine on a daily basis, the young man ended up becoming addicted to narcotic drugs, so his family put him in a rehab health center until he recovered.

Mohammad al-Yaser, a relative of the young man, said that Mohammed was injured in a traffic accident in early 2017. The doctors were forced to give him narcotic drugs to relieve the pain, but with concentrated care. After a short time, he suffered from daily epileptic seizures, He used to break the furniture of the house when the medicine was cut off, while his parents prevented him from using the narcotic drugs in order to be cured.

"The pharmacy that sells the drug was supplying him with narcotic drugs without a prescription to earn more money.", the young man added, "When he is prevented from the drugs for not having money, Mohammed attacks the pharmacy or sells something from his home to afford the price of the drug."

On the actions they took against the pharmacy, Muhammad indicated that they had filed a complaint with the Ministry of Health of the "Salvation Government" supported by Hayyet Tahrir al-Sham HTS, that the latter forced them to close for several days, but they opened again without supervision.

This led us to communicate with the Ministry of Health in the "Salvation Government" to find out what is going on and how to deal with it. The Minister said, "Ahmed al-Jirk" that about 350 of non-formal pharmacies spreading in the north of Syria, 100 of which were closed.

The Jirk added that they are working to control the work of the violators or licensing of the pharmacies, stressing their commitment to respond to the complaints received by the Ministry or one of its directorates. After they verify the validity of the complaint, they issue a disciplinary sanction to the violator such as a "closure warning" or a criminal penalty that may include imprisonment and a fine.

On the narcotic drugs, the "Jirk" pointed out that the control campaign will be launched after the completion of the pharmacies violation file so that all pharmacists registered in the Pharmacists Syndicate and Health directorates.

The director of the Drug Control Department at the Directorate of Health of Idlib of the Syrian Interim Government, Dr. Alaa Ahmado, told NSO that the non-formal pharmacies are spread indiscriminately because of the lack of central authority and executive bodies responsible for monitoring, in addition to the migration of most specialists of pharmacists.

"Ahmado" pointed out that they have a list of illegal pharmacies throughout the governorate of Idlib and cooperate with the local councils and the executive authorities in the areas to help close them, pointing out that they succeeded in some areas while facing difficulties in other areas.

* Sources of medicines

Drug trade has become a popular phenomenon in all areas that have been subjected to shelling on drug factories. A number of traders sell palliative and narcotic drugs, taking advantage of the lack and quality of control over the types of drugs that enter the markets in terms of their effectiveness and quality.

On 14/9/2015, the National Drug Factory was destroyed in the Mansoura area in Aleppo western countryside, in a shelling by the regime forces, which led to the burning of all the machines, medicines and the destruction of the buildings inside the lab, then the sources of medicines diversified.

Our reporter met Abu Yamen, the owner of a private drug store in Idlib, who said that 70% of these medicines come from factories located in the regime-held areas, and 15% come from factories that were created in the liberated areas but are not legally licensed and not under any supervision for the absence of executive authority, and 15% are Turkish that come with relief campaigns.

Abu Yamen, who sells narcotic drugs, said that what he noticed was "the spread of secret and abundant farms in the al-Ghab area in Hama countryside and other areas that plant poppy, the main plant from which cocaine is extracted, and sold through the black market."

On the other hand, a drug dealer, Hazem al-Sulaiman, notes that this trade has become popular, in addition to the profession of opening pharmacies, in areas beyond the control of the regime, especially palliative and narcotic pills, which are sold to civilians without any control over the efficacy and quality of the medicine.

* Victims of medicines without a savior

"Mohamed Khair," a pharmacist with 30 years of experience, told NSO that he was sorry for what was happening and that he was always resorted to by the sick as a result of the unsuitable medicine, which was given to them. "There was a patient was bleeding as a result of Wilson's disease, was given a drug called "Lamtergen", while Wilson's disease is only treated with vitamin K.

He also talked about one of the medicine sellers had taken out a prescription from an internal doctor. The drug was a pressure reliever; the drug seller replaced it with a female hormone when the patient's family discovered this after a few days, the patient's health deteriorated.

Even the children couldn't avoid using drugs, on October 19 last year, children were given hypnotic drugs to ensure that no voice was issued during crossing the Turkish border illegally, which would expose their movement.

A few hours later, a hospital in the town of Darkush hosted the body of two children who lost the ability to move completely, while three other children with fluid retention and respiratory distress.

The children died with excessive hypnotic dose, and so are the regulators.

سوريا ادلب صيادلة ادوية فاسدة فلتان رقابي ضحايا مخدرات حبوب مخدرة ادمان حكومة الانقاذ وزارة الصحة الحكومة المؤقتة الخشخاش سوق السوداء


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Joud Alshmale

Editor and reporter

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