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Top firm caught smuggling drugs into Zimbabwe

by Staff reporter
24 Mar 2024 at 14:36hrs | Views
Authorities have seized drugs that were allegedly smuggled through the country's porous borders by one of the country's major medical service providers Baines Radiology Group (BIG).

Highly placed sources at BIG told  Standard People that the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe ( MCAZ) confiscated the drugs that were being smuggled from neighbouring South Africa where the company's proprietor, Kirtikumar Naik, is based.

BIG, according to sources, now faces prosecution.

Although efforts to get an official comment from BIG executive Phineas Mapani were fruitless at the time of going to print, MCAZ confirmed the bust saying prosecution was already underway.

"Following a thorough investigation, MCAZ can confirm that some unregistered medicines were confiscated in collaboration with law enforcement agencies," MCAZ public relations manager Davison Kaiyo said in an emailed response.

Kaiyo said the selling of unregistered medicines is prohibited under section 27 of the Medicines and Allied Substances Act (15:03).

"Selling of unregistered medicines is also in contravention of Section 29 (1)(a) and Section 29 (1a) of the same Act," Kaiyo said.

"All medicines allowed to be used in Zimbabwe should have been registered as their safety, and efficacy will have been evaluated."

He said the case has been referred for prosecution in accordance with established legal procedures.

He said the MCAZ carries out regular enforcement activities through its licencing and enforcement division to rid the country of unregistered medicines.

"An example is the recent raid conducted in Caledonia, Harare where several unlicenced shops were shut down and the medicines confiscated," he said.

"The Authority works with law enforcement agencies to make sure that the medicines available to the Zimbabwe market are safe, efficacious, and of good quality.

"We also carry out awareness campaigns to educate our people on the need to access registered medicines only from licenced premises and persons."

He said the mandate of the MCAZ is to protect the public by ensuring access to safe, effective, and good quality medicines.

"As you are aware, the Authority takes all reports of illegal activities related to medical products very seriously and the Authority initiated appropriate actions in response to a complaint we received."

BIG was founded in 1951 and is in the provision of medical diagnostic radiology services.

It is the largest radiology services and management provider in Zimbabwe.

BIG's current medical investments incorporate Baines Imaging Radiology, 3T MRI Centre, Baines Pathology, Oncocare Zimbabwe, Oncocare Pharmacy, Ambulance Care & Evacuation and BainesNet.

Source - the standard