Pharmacists push for ban on importing products with labels not written in English

Taken from google images.

A second local agency is seeking the government’s approval to make it illegal for business owners and other citizens to import products, specifically pharmaceuticals and certain poisons, with labels written in a language other than English.

The Antigua and Barbuda Pharmacy Council is currently discussing ways in which the regulations that govern the body could be amended to facilitate the process.

Director of Pharmaceuticals in the Ministry of Health, Alfred Athill, said the recommendations were put forward to the Office of the Attorney General Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin and he is hopeful that this can take effect early next year.

“We do have problems with individuals importing pharmaceuticals and poisons in this country with total foreign language. A standard was developed in 2014 with the Antigua and Barbuda Bureau of Standards, however, it is voluntary, but it should be enshrined in the pharmacy regulations by next year,” Athill said.

He explained that once this is implemented, there will be some semblance of order in relation to the importation of these items into the country.

Some of the products that appear on shelves here are written in foreign languages which go against standards that are already adopted by the local bureau of standards, while the standards are in place there is nothing in law that makes it mandatory for business owners to comply and the bureau cannot compel the public to make the changes unless the necessary laws are in place.

In 2012, the statutory agency worked closely with the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs to develop the new regulations that would make it mandatory for businesses to comply with labelling requirements.

Up to yesterday, OBSERVER media was informed that this process was never finalised.