Colombia’s Ministry of Social Protection confirmed that it will destroy 217,000 units of expired medication, Caracol Radio reported Tuesday.
The Inspector General’s Office found inside the Ministry of Social Protection thousands of medications that expired in 2008, 14,000 that expired Monday and 118,000 that are about to expire.
The drugs that have been expired for over two years are stibgluconato, which is used for the treatment of leishmaniasis, a disease transmitted by a bite from the sand fly, and mefloquina used to treat malaria.
The public health director of the Ministry of Social Protection Lenis Urquilo said that the reasons for the surplus of stibgluconato was a high amount of adverse reactions. In the case of mefloquina the surplus was caused by a change in the treatment plan causing less need for the medication, which had been donated by the social campaign Panafro.
As ordered by the prosecuter general, an investigation will be initiated to see if there was any negligence on the part of the Ministry for failure to ensure the provision of public health services, and to determine the officials responsible.
Alberto Bravo, representing the Association of Pharmaceutical Industries, ASINFAR, said the Ministry of Social Protection must answer for the thousands of expired medicines, as these substances are used to treat people displaced by the armed conflict.
Urquilo told Caracol radio that he is perfecting a contract with the company that will advance the destruction of the expired medication.
For the drugs which are yet to expire, including the flu treatment Tamiflu, the Prosecuter General urges the Ministry of Social Protection to seize the opportunity to offer the medication to the thousands of displaced Colombians who may be in need.