Gambia’s Health Ministry rejected claims that the seized medicinal products by Senegalese Custom Border Officers belong to the country.
The Ministry emphatically said that the said products were being transported on a Senegalese refrigerated truck with registration number TH 6650 D carrying a cargo of fish at the time of its interception by custom officers of the francophone nation.
“The Ministry of Health and partners are following with keen interest, developments surrounding the reported seizure of suspected medicinal products by the Senegalese Custom Border Officers at Kerr Ayub of a Senegalese refrigerated truck with registration number TH 6650 D carrying a cargo of fish and what is believed to be an assortment of medicines. The medicinal products were transported from Southern Senegal (Cassamance) across The Gambia to Northern Senegal,” it said in a dispatch yesterday.
Contrary to the social media reports and press statements by some individuals, the refrigerated truck on which the said medical drugs were found was only transiting through The Gambia from the Southern Province of Cassamance, as per the ECOWAS protocols, the institution emphasised.
“Under the ECOWAS protocols, The Gambia is bound by the sub-regional treaty to enhance movement of transiting vehicles through its borders unhindered. It is therefore totally disingenuous to even remotely link The Gambia with the seizure of a Senegalese registered vehicle which loaded its goods from Southern Senegal,” the health care giver said.
The Ministry notified the public that it has requested through the normal diplomatic channels, more information from the relevant Senegalese authorities on the seized medical drugs, their type and quantity.
“As part of its due diligence, the Medicines Control Agency under the Ministry of Health ensures that a detailed record and inventory of medicinal products imported into the country are kept and maintained in a government database,” it said.
The institution continued that for avoidance of doubts, there are appropriate regulatory requirements in place for importation and distribution of medicinal products in The Gambia enforced and implemented by the Medicines Control Agency mandated to ensure compliance to the Law. And further informed that it is against the Medicines and Related Products Act 2014, for any unlicensed entity to be engaged in importing medicinal products either through overt and covert means.
The Health Ministry warned that those found wanting or illegally importing medicinal products either through overt and covert means unlicensed will face the full force of the law.