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Our active minister of health is in the process of issuing decisions to regulate pharmacies … Kuwait has the highest number of pharmacies in the world if we compare it to the population of both citizens and expatriates!
I remember my childhood days when we wanted to travel or buy medicines. The government hospital (Amiri) did not give us medicines. We used to go to the only pharmacy in Kuwait — Hajri Pharmacy in Gharbally Market, which we later converted into Palestine Street! It still follows the Mubarakiya area, which is a few steps away from Gharbally Market.
A few days ago, I went to Salmiya with my wife, specifically a medical center in front of the Yacht Club. We had an appointment with a doctor there. After visiting the doctor, we decided to take the First Ring Road on our way home. We went around in a vicious circle in that area in Salmiya, which is full of buildings with the clinics of doctors engaged in private practice.
We were surprised with the number of pharmacies, as there is almost a pharmacy in every clinic!! The number of pharmacies exceeded 10 in a small area measuring not more than hundreds of meters! In many areas, especially in Sabah Al-Salem — opposite Masayel — there are several doctors’ clinics, but it is also filled with dozens of pharmacies that exceed the number of clinics.
We often see a huge number of pharmacies with a unified name in the area of doctors, clinics and hospitals in Jabriya and other surrounding areas. It has been said that an expatriate owns these pharmacies under the sponsorship of a citizen!!
It is also said that doctors own many pharmacies in partnership with expatriates. In the midst of these thousands of pharmacies, we did not see any Kuwaiti pharmacist working in the pharmacy, even if he is the owner!
Many perplexing questions are in front of His Excellency the Minister of Health. We hope that he will clearly respond to these questions. Corruption has reached the pharmacies. “This is Kuwait. Pray for the Prophet.”
So, what is left for us in our beloved country without corruption that has reached the assistants of our hospitals — our pharmacies?!!
After writing an article about corruption of pharmacies, we received news validating such accusation. Health sector sources said the Grave Violations Committee at the Ministry of Health recorded the violations of 12 private pharmacies and a company importing nutritional supplements.
Sources indicated that the committee imposed penalties ranging from one month to four months closure of pharmacies… Seven pharmacies were closed for three months after repeating the grave violation while the license of another pharmacy was withdrawn.
Also, the license of a company importing nutritional supplements was revoked for violating the regulations on selling medicines. ‘The rope is in the jar.’ We do not need a quarter of these commercial pharmacies!!
The most important development is the recent news about the alleged involvement of some companies that own pharmacies in money laundering! If this is true, it will be a great misfortune.
By Ali Ahmed Al-Baghli
Former Minister of Oil