Inappropriate medicines prompt formulation of new guidelines

The original article can be found in: BVI News Online

Following the receipt of what is being described as inappropriate medicines, the BVI government recently approved a new Medicine Donation Policy.

The policy will guide how donations from regional and international organisations are made to the territory.

“This will reduce the donation of inappropriate, unwanted, expired, useless, substandard and or counterfeit medicines to the territory, as well as ensure effective communication between donors and the government,” said the Ministry of Health.

“Donors would be assured that their resources have been applied for maximum benefit to the people of the Virgin Islands.”

Commenting on the matter, Health Minister Ronnie Skelton stated that the donors usually have very noble intentions.

He however noted that there were occasions when donations were inappropriate and had to be destroyed for a variety of reasons.

“For instance, the medicines may have been labeled in a foreign language, unfamiliar to the health professionals in the country, or expired,” Skelton said. “In other instances, the quantities exceeded the requirements of the health system and storage for the excess medicine was a challenge.”

The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Pharmaceutical Procurement Service has been a primary source of medicine donations to the BVI in non-emergency situations.

Skelton said those donations have been mainly for the treatment of HIV/AIDS and have significantly benefited the territory.

“Medicine donations are particularly beneficial to countries in the aftermath of disasters which result from events such as major hurricanes and earthquakes; and as we know, the Caribbean is an active region for such events.”

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