On March 12th we reported on the dissatisfaction from the Pharmacist Association of Belize with concerns over the illegitimate appointment of Danini Contreras who is the Minister of Trade Erwin Contreras’ daughter as Director of the Drug Inspectorate in the Ministry of Health.
The Association says that Contreras, who holds a degree in Chemical Pharmaceuticals, is and was not qualified for the post. The association maintains that to be a drug inspector, one would have to be a registered pharmacist, have 5 years working experience; specialized training in drug inspection, and have an associate or a diploma in pharmacy. And today, a little over a month after they first reacted to the news, the Pharmacist Association of Belize issued another release on their meeting with Minister and CEO of the Ministry of Health on March 26th.
In the release, it states that the Ministry suggested two options: (1) For a member of the Association to accompany the “Director” when carrying out the inspections and 2. For the executive of the Association to meet with the Minister of Health every two months. But that did not sit well with the Association who state that the solutions were not ‘tangible’ or ‘genuine’. And as a result, the Association is demanding that ‘any existing contract entered into to fill this inaptly created post be rescinded’, ‘proper procedure be adhered in the creation and filling of any such post and the unit be properly equipped with suitably trained personnel, among others.
The release ended saying that the Association seeks bona fide strengthening and improvement of Pharmacy Practice in Belize, and calls on the Ministry of Health to support the passage of the proposed laws that have been submitted to the Solicitor General. The Pharmacists Association of Belize sees no other option but to take further action under the Settlement of Disputes in the Essential Services Act, Chapter 298 of the Laws of Belize. It is of note that when the story aired, the Ministry had sent its own release it said and we quote, "While the Ministry supports several of the points raised by the executive, it opposes others.
Some of the issues raised appear to be flawed conclusions based presumably on inaccurate information. It added that quote, "a highly qualified and extremely professional officer has been recruited to head an independent drug inspectorate unit, but to discuss the professional attributes of this or any other officer in a public forum is not encouraged by the Ministry." How this will play out is anyone’s guess!
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