Police walk past a shop looted in protests in Durban, South Africa, July 11, 2021. File photo: Siyabonga Sishi/Reuters
Police walk past a shop looted in protests in Durban, South Africa, July 11, 2021. File photo: Siyabonga Sishi/Reuters

More than 90 pharmacies ravaged by looters

By Tarryn-Leigh Solomons Time of article published Jul 14, 2021

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The South African Pharmacy Council (SAPC) on Wednesday confirmed that more than 90 pharmacies have been destroyed and looted beyond revival in both provinces with KwaZulu-Natal being the hardest hit.

CEO Vincent Tlala said the council is distraught and disappointed at the looting sprees that have targeted pharmacies, among other establishments in KZN and Gauteng.

On Tuesday he reported that at least 20 pharmacies had been ravaged. This figure, however, more than trebled overnight.

Among the looted items are Covid-19 vaccines and scheduled medicines, which when used without proper pharmacist counselling on storage and dosage may result in harm to one’s health. Tlala advised those who looted medicine and health products to instead return the items to the nearest pharmacy for proper disposal.

“We also caution members of the public to only source medicines from legitimate health establishments such as pharmacies.”

Tlala said the SAPC is further worried at the loss of pharmaceutical care that the affected areas will experience as a result of the temporary and, in most cases, prolonged closures of pharmacies as most of the pharmacies that are affected are independently owned. “We are further disappointed at the possible loss of employment and livelihoods for pharmacists and support personnel employed by the affected pharmacies.

“We call on South Africans to refrain from destructing healthcare infrastructure or disrupting healthcare services for any reason. Such actions reverse the difficult gains we have made in increasing the accessibility of healthcare services to previously underserved communities in our country. It also puts the lives of citizens in these communities at risk.”

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