Police and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials raided drug stores without qualified pharmacists, illegally selling large amounts of cough medicine for customers to make a drug cocktail known as 4×100.
The raid at drug stores across Bangkok resulted in the arrests of 13 unlicensed pharmacists, along with the confiscation of unauthorized medicines totaling 156 items.
This investigation was prompted by public complaints regarding the use of non-pharmacists selling medications at local medicine shops in Bangkok and the availability of improper medications.
Preliminary findings unveiled that a significant number of these unregistered medications fall under categories such as anti-histamines, cough syrup used by teenagers to mix with other substance to make a drug cocktail.
The police searches were conducted at 14 locations throughout Bangkok from July 24 to August 9.
The police seized 572 counterfeit medications, 212 unregistered medications, and 24,722 bottles of cough syrup, 4,150 capsules of painkiller Tramadol, a synthetic of opioid and 21 boxes of specially controlled medicines.
Thirty unlicensed pharmacists were arrested. Among them, five had completed only secondary education, and eight had completed undergraduate degrees in unrelated fields.
They confessed to being employed 12,000-18,000 a month as staff members at these medicine shops where qualified pharmacists were present on the premises once a week.
The police found that these shops often engaged in the expansion of branches to enable them to acquire higher quotas of the restricted cough syrup, which is capped at 300 bottles per shop per month. These cough medicines were then sold to adolescents to make a drug cocktail.
The police file charges against non-pharmacists and take legal actions against the medicine shops found to sell unregistered or counterfeit medications. Additionally, the FDA will suspend licenses of drug stores and pharmacists whose names were used by those drug stores. They will face criminal action, liable to pay fines. (TNA)