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‘MoI should tighten measures to curb smuggling of medicines’ Customs lacks modern surveillance tools

 KUWAIT CITY, Aug 5: The Medicine Inspection Department at Ministry of Health has demanded Ministry of Interior to tighten measures for curbing the phenomenon of promotion of smuggled and fake medicines through the social networking website ‘Instagram’, reports Al-Seyassah daily quoting informed sources.

They said the department urged for the establishment of specialized offices in collaboration with the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Ministry of Information and Kuwait Municipality for this purpose.

Sources affirmed that the methods followed for smuggling medicine in Kuwait has become very organized due to slackness in the surveillance role played by the customs officers and border securitymen. They lamented that the inspection procedures depend on individual perception and prior reports, adding that the Customs Department has nearly 1,800 inspectors but lacks modern surveillance tools.

They said they wondered why Kuwait has only 500 inspection counters in the Customs Department while a country like Singapore has over 30,000 inspection counters, insisting that the high temperatures in the country necessities providing sunshades and additional counters. They lamented about the lack of surveillance on social networking websites, explaining that the websites are used to promote weight-loss products, cosmetics, sexual stimulators, etc, the use of which can increase the chances of cardiac diseases, cancer and sexual impotency among people.

Sources also stressed the need to monitor fitness clubs where most of such products are promoted and sold especially by the fitness coaches. They specifically warned against the use of certain weight-loss pills made in Thailand which contain worms that can eat the stomach. Indicating that these pills are promoted heavily on the Internet, they stressed that the use of these pills result in various diseases of heart, hair, colon, kidneys and liver.

Meanwhile, Head of the Media Office at the General Customs Department Mubarak Al- Qattan denied reports about the department being responsible for the smuggling of such medicines. He affirmed that the department opens all containers particularly those containing medicines, adding that the medicines are not released without an official letter from Ministry of Health. Al-Qattan affirmed that an office affiliated to the Ministry of Health and Municipality in the Customs Department shoulders the responsibility of supervising all transactions related to medicines.

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