Almost one half of the total number of pharmacies in Eswatini is illegal, because they lack registered pharmacists. The Eswatini Medical Council (EMDC) has on its book 279 registered pharmacists, while the number of trading licenses which were issued by the Ministry of Commerce is 447.
Dr. Vusi Magagula who is the Director for the Health services in the country said that the country had only 279 registered people as pharmacists with EDMC. He says that according to the law, only a pharmacist who is registered should dispense medicines to the people. When a question was posed to him about the necessity for having a registered pharmacist, Dr Magagula emphatically said that there should be no compromise on this account, as often incorrect medicines and sub-optimal deliveries of drugs are attributed to non-qualified pharmacists.
While the number of pharmacists is significantly lower than the number of pharmacies, it brings to light issues like medicine stolen from the government clinics and sold in these illegal pharmacies. Some pharmacists have also disclosed the fact that they were approached by shady people dealing in stolen medicines.
Dr. Simon Zwane in another interview said that his ministry was in deep concern regarding the mushrooming of pharmacies which will inevitably lead to issues with the quality of medicines along with the gray area being how they were procured in the first place.