Problematic Narcotic and Psychotropic Substances Act lands pharmacists in court

-Dozens of pharmacists investigated for trading sedatives-

Trans. by B.DULGUUN

Daily News was contacted about pharmacists going to court for selling the psychotropic drug Luminal, after an article was published about children suffering negative side effects, leading to a ban on Luminal production. Luminal is commonly used as a sedative, hypnotic, and anticonvulsant, but pharmacists were charged for trading Luminal and other drugs categorized as narcotics or psychotropic substances.

Charges against pharmacists

The General Agency for Specialized Inspection of Mongolia (GASI) discovered that pharmacies in Chingeltei District, including Sulden and Noni pharmacies, were trading Luminal without a license two years ago. A pharmacist and retailer were prosecuted in accordance with Article 193 of the Criminal Code.
A GASI file documents their repeated, illegal trade of Luminal at the pharmacy located in the 22nd building in Duchin Myangat settlement center of Chingeltei District. A state prosecutor charged them with selling Luminal without a special license and selling narcotics and psychotropic substances. At the time, nine pharmacies were permitted to sell these types of drugs in accordance with orders from the Head of the Capital City Health Department. Sulden and Noni pharmacies weren’t included in the list of approved sellers.
In the file, witness J.Enkhbayar, representing the Capital City Health Department, had stated, “Luminal is included in the List of Essential Medicines. Pharmacies must serve the public by providing medical prescriptions. Pharmacies can sell the psychotropic diazepam (a sedative), Apaurin and phenobarbital (Luminal), since they are used to treat various illnesses. Laws enforced in Mongolia contradict real life. A proposal was submitted to the parliament about this issue.”
While a judge claimed, “Licenses for trading narcotics and psychotropic substances weren’t issued before, and not even now. However, they must have a special license for operating a business.”
Primary court dismissed the case against the pharmacist but convicted the retailer. Another GASI file showed that a Monos Pharmacy pharmacist was charged with the same crime earlier this year.

Psychotropic substances treated as narcotics

Lawyers commented about drug manufacturers, pharmacy directors and pharmacists being investigated for illegally trading and selling psychotropic drugs.
A source from one legal organization disclosed, “Article 193 of the Criminal Code states that pharmacists who sell psychotropic drugs will be held as associates in the crimes of illegally manufacturing, acquiring, storing, transporting, delivering or selling psychotropic and narcotic substances. According to the Criminal Code, this type of medicine must be traded with a special license. Yet, pharmacists and pharmacy directors are violating the law.”
The U.N. approved the List of Psychotropic Substances, which includes Luminal and sedatives, in 1971. The U.N. passed the List of Narcotic Drugs in 1961. Mongolia uses 12 substances listed on the List of Narcotic Drugs and 27 on the List of Psychotropic Substances. Lawyers explained that drug manufacturers and pharmacists are accused of crimes because some laws integrated the two different substances (narcotics and psychotropic substances) as one terminology, while others refer to the terms separately. Specifically, Article 3.1.6 of the Law on Medicine and Medical Devices classified that narcotics lead to addiction, while psychotropic substances affect the mind.
The Law on Medicine and Medical Devices specifies that the lists of drugs classified in Mongolia as narcotics and psychotropic substances and their production, import, storage and trade regulations have to be approved by the Minister of Health. Resolution No. 400 of the Minister of Health, passed in 2011, namely the regulation on the production, import, and distribution of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, didn’t specify pharmacies permitted to distribute psychotropic drugs and highlighted that public pharmacies can distribute these types of drugs. The regulation on narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances states that provincial and Ulaanbaatar health departments will determine the total number and location of pharmacies permitted to distribute these substances. In other words, laws and regulations about health, medicine and medical devices separate psychotropic drugs from narcotic drugs. In the Criminal Code, the two are integrated as one. This is implicating drug manufacturers and pharmacists in criminal activity.

Regular inspection on pharmacists

The Ulaanbaatar Specialized Inspection Authority conducts general inspections of pharmacies once every two years. A common violation discovered during these inspections is the unlicensed sales of psychotropic drugs and narcotics such as sedatives and Luminal.
During the 2012 general inspections, more than ten violations occurred in each district, and pharmacists were investigated. Some were charged.
A source reported that inspection agencies exposed several similar cases after the uproar about a child being poisoned by Luminal in early 2014.

List of Narcotic Drugs
1. Buprenorphine
2. Dihydrocodeine
3. Hydromorphone
4. Codeine
5. Levorphanol
6. Morphine
7. Methadone
8. Oxycodone
9. Oxymorphone
10. Fentanyl
11. Pethidine
12. Trimeperidine
List of Psychotropic Substances
1. Allobarbital
2. Amobarbital
3. Barbital
4. Bromazepam
5. Glutethimide
6. Diazepam
7. Clonazepam
8. Levomepromazine
9. Meprobamate
10. Medazepam
11. Methamphetamine
12. Methaqualone
13. Methylphenidate
14. Metafenazat
15. Nitrazepam
16. Pentobarbital
17. Pentazocine
18. Pinazepam
19. Secobarbital
20. Trifluoperazine
21. Phenobarbital
22. Fluphenazine
23. Cyclobarbital
24. Chlorpromazine
25. Chlordiazepoxide
26. Ephedrine
27. Ketamine


Source: Daily News

Short URL: http://ubpost.mongolnews.mn/?p=12320

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