The Pharmacist Association of Belize say they have not received a satisfactory response from the Ministry of Health about their queries over the sudden creation of a post of Director of Drug Inspectorate which was filled by a Minister’s daughter, and so the Association says it sees no other option but to take further action under the Settlement of Disputes in the Essential Services Act, Chapter 298 of the Laws of Belize.
Danini Contreras, daughter of Minister Erwin Contreras, was contracted on March 4th 2014, but according to the Pharmacists association, she does not meet the requirements for the post.
Today we spoke to Ms. Marisol Melhado, Vice President of the Pharmacists Association of Belize.
“She has a Bachelor’s degree and nobody is denying that, but she doesn’t have any experience. How can you tell someone to fill the position of a director if they don’t have any experience? That position is key and we don’t even recognize the position because it is not even being creative”.
In a press release issued today,the association says they met with the Minister of Health and the CEO in the Ministry of Health who presented two options ; those being,
1. For a member of the Association to accompany the “Director” when carrying out the inspections and
2. For the executive of the Association to meet with the Minister of Health every two months. But the association says this won’t work.
Marisol Melhado: “You cannot expect with zero experience to know what to do in the terms of counterfeit medication in terms of all these places open that don’t have a pharmacist. I mean, if you want to strengthen the profession of pharmacy, you strengthen by implementing the laws that are proposed”.
Reporter Emanuel Pech: “You also mentioned that she doesn’t even have the requirements of the Drug Inspectorate”.
Marisol Melhado: “Drug Inspector…a simple drug inspector needs to be first of all, a registered pharmacist, to have had a license under the License and Chemist Act, possess a specialized training in the drug inspectorate and five years working experience. Now, this person has zero experience, is not a registered pharmacist, and only has a Bachelor’s degree with no training at all”.
The association says it calls for processes that allow for proper regulation and that it is the position of the Pharmacists Association of Belize that the current post of Director of Drug Inspectorate is not recognized in its current capacity and as such should not represent Belize in any official capacity, nationally or internationally.
However, According to Melhado, the Ministry of Health maintains that they will not dismiss the Director of Drug Inspectorate
Reporter Emanuel Pech: “Miss, in your dialogued with the Ministry. What positions did they take in this?”
Marisol Melhado: “They told us that no way that they are going to terminate or suspend their position”.
Reporter Emanuel Pech: “Did they give you any reason?”
Marisol Melhado: “Not at all”.
Melhado says that PAB’s response, which called for rescinding of the contract for the current Director of Drug Inspectorate by April 7th, 2014, has not been acknowledged. Therefore, the Pharmacists Association of Belize will be looking into taking further action under the Settlement of Disputes in the Essential Services Act, Chapter 298 of the Laws of Belize.