A total of 30,117 pharmacies were closed across Egypt, out of 62,175 pharmacies inspected by the Ministry of Health during 2015, the ministry said on Friday.
Health Ministry spokesperson Hossam Abdel Ghaffar said the ministry received 89 reports of smuggled medicines, while the number of expired medicines warehouses reached 1,033.
“The ministry is intensifying its inspection campaigns on pharmacies and medicine warehouses to prevent the prevalence of expired drugs,” Minister of Health Adel Hassan Al-Adawi said in an official ministry statement on Friday. He added that this drugs should be destroyed according to the law.
The Pharmacy Syndicate decided in October 2011 to limit the amount of expired drugs that were returned to pharmaceutical companies to only 4%, leaving pharmacists with a surfeit of expired drugs.
According to research by the Arab Network for Investigative Journalists in 2014, the remaining amount of expired drugs in Egypt were sold to “black market” medicine dealers, at lower prices than the original. These out-of-date drugs were then recycled and reused in the market.
The research also showed that the ministry has not specified a certain location or a methodology to store the expired medicines until their destruction.
The ministry’s statement on Friday said that there are about 26 unlicenced pharmacies, which were referred to prosecution.
In an attempt to differentiate between expired medicines and valid ones, the ministry added in its statement that it has issued a periodical publication listing the substantial differences between both kinds of medicines and distributed it among 12 pharmacies so far.