Cliff Samuel appeared at the Mitchells Plain Magistrates’ Court on Friday where he faced a charge of being in possession of medicine that can only be dispensed if legally authorised and certified to do so in terms of the Medicines Act.
Cops arrested the former pharmacist's assistant on 22 August at his business, Cliffie’s Health Shop, at the corner of Church Street and Dennegeur Avenue in Strandfontein.
Police confiscated various medication including expired items, following an investigation by the Department of Health in Pretoria.
Samuel worked as a pharmacist’s assistant for over 16 years and has been running his own business for the past seven years.
The matter was postponed to 13 October for further investigation and Samuel was released on a warning.
Meanwhile, outraged Strandfontein residents pledged their support for Samuel, known as Cliffie in the community, on Facebook.
People were also asked to contribute towards a fund to help pay Samuel’s legal fees on the Proudly Strandfontein page.
People say Samuel has been helping them for years, dispensing medicine when they could not afford to go to a doctor.
One resident, Mildred Kleyn, wrote: “What is so sad, is that the illegal drug dealers are never caught. Their drugs are destroying our communities but nobody is caught or convicted.”
Caren Roziers-Adriaans said: “Yes, maybe he even saved a life or more, Cliffy I salute you.”
But a Cape Town pharmacist who spoke to the Daily Voice says the dispensing of medication without a licence, and expired medicine, can be deadly: “The Department of Health and inspectors carry out stock takes and visit our premises annually. He was gambling with people’s lives.”
A senior nurse, who also asked not to be named, adds: “What if someone is allergic to penicillin and this chemist prescribed it? Or he gave people the wrong dosages for their heart or high blood pressure pills? What if someone dies, what will the community say then?”