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Under-Fire Pharmacists Demand BBC Withdraws ‘Stealing From The Sick’ Documentary

The Pharmaceutical Society of Uganda (PSU), a professional body for pharmacists in Uganda has demanded that the British Broadcasting Services (BBC) withdraws the documentary dubbed ‘Stealing from the Sick’ that implicated a number of medical officers including pharmacists stealing drugs from public health facilities.

In a statement authored and signed by both Patrick Ogwang President and Samuel Opio Secretary of the Society, the under fire pharmacists say  that the BBC documentary has tainted the image of pharmacists not only in Uganda but globally.

“The misrepresentation has caused great distress, torment, injury and defamed Pharmacists within the country and globally and put the profession into total disrepute,” the statement seen by this website reads in part.

It adds: “Pharmacists have globally been considered among the most trusted health professionals and are the known honest custodians of drugs according to the CNN 1999 report.”

The Pharmaceutical Society of Uganda sets standards to promote good professional practice and ethical conduct among Pharmacists.

Without providing any evidence, the Society distanced themselves from some of the officials caught on camera selling public drugs.

Part of PSU’s statement

 “The persons involved in the theft of medicines were not pharmacists. It is therefore imperative that the government considers reviewing the handling of medicines within the public sector and places them in the hands of pharmacists. Especially government should recruit pharmacists at every district,” Pharmacists say in a statement.

The Society laid down a number of demands including calls to BBC to bring down the documentary.

PSU demands that BBC removes ”the documentaries on its various sites including social media pages within the next 72 hours. We believe that efforts to bring out the issue on the theft of medicines need to be supported but the misrepresentation of the facts should not be condoned and corrected in line with the dictates of professionalism which apply to every profession including journalism.”

Additionally, the Pharmaceutical Society also tasked BBC to furnish the PSU council with full names and contacts of the said persons who were presented as ‘Pharmacists’ for prosecution for using the word ‘Pharmacists’ in contravention of section 11 of the Pharmacy and Drugs Act.

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