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Group Hopes to Rate Pharmacies Like Hotels

The Ministry of Health, the Cambodian Pharmacy Association and the World Health Organization are working to form a pharmacy accreditation body by the end of the year. The agency will seek to control pharmacies by independently evaluating them and rating them. Just like hotels.

"In order to strengthen the health of the Khmer people, we have to strengthen both the quality of drugs and the medical service system," said Yim Yann, director of the Pharmacy Association.

The agency as planned will evaluate the location of the pharmacy, the character of its staff and the quality of its drugs, he said, adding that the committee will strengthen the service of the pharmacy, but will not control counterfeit drugs. Such a committee already exists, he said.

The Ministry of Health supports the formation of the committee, which could encourage pharmacies not to sell counterfeit, defective or expired drugs, said Sok Pheng, undersecretary of state for the ministry.

Beng Thai, director of Phnom Penh's Department of Health and deputy director of the committee to eliminate counterfeit drugs, said that in Phnom Penh there are 480 legal and 10 illegal pharmacies in the capital. He recognized that there are many establishments that sell medicine alongside other goods.

About 30 kinds of counterfeit drugs are sold on the Cambodian market, he said.

Yim Yann said 1,000 legal pharmacies operate nationwide, but twice as many do so illegally. The illegal pharmacies are slowly clsoing, he said, but in Cambodia, about 10 percent of the drugs are counterfeit, many are contraband, and many more are unregistered with the Ministry of Health.