Tensions continue to grow between the Pharmacists Association of Belize and the Ministry of Health. And root cause of the turmoil is the appointment of Danini Contreras as Director of Drug Inspectorate. The Pharmacists Association believes that Contreras, who is the daughter of Minister Erwin Contreras, is under qualified for the newly created post and the required procedure under the Public Service Act were not followed prior to her appointment. The association has asked that her appointment be withdrawn, but the Ministry of Health has stuck to its guns defending Contreras’ appointment. Contreras, who recently obtained a bachelor’s degree in science from Guatemala, is currently on a six-month contract. The association is also up in arms since Contreras is also authorized to approve the entry of pharmaceuticals through Customs. And that is where the dispute stands today, a dispute that won’t go away anytime soon. Today the Pharmacists Association of Belize sent out a release highlighting the actions taken by the Ministry of Health that have been continuously eroding the practices and profession of pharmacist and the consequences/impact on the Health of the people of Belize and the nation itself.
They list the following: Removal of Chief Pharmacist in the Ministry of Health from tendering and procurement of pharmaceutical process, the suspension of the Licensing ex-am required by Law, regularly scheduled exam, submission on for acquisition of minilab not supported by MOH, review/update of National Formulary suspend, issuance of Chemist and Druggist Certificate to individual who was not duly examined and deemed competent to practice under the Laws of Belize, contracting of an unlicensed, inexperienced un-trained individual as Director of Drug Inspectorate and failure to consult with key stakeholders and technical advisors to foster proactive advancement of Pharmacy Practice in the best interest of our nation.
All of this says the association, has weaken existing safeguards that ensure safe and effective medicines, encourages illegal practice and safety of the general public place at risk, earning potential of young Belizean professionals negatively impacted and existing structures are removed or degraded instead of strengthened. The release also states that the persistent exponential actions of the MOH will not only serve to deteriorate the health of the Belizean people, but the country also runs a risk of international sanctions and negative labels being synonymous with Belize. With this in mind the Pharmacists Association of Belize insist that the proper and correct processes be followed to ensure that there is true, transparent strengthening of pharmacy practice in Belize, states the release.
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