13 arrested in crackdown on Bangkok drugstores for selling opioid-based pills freely
Some 13 people working in pharmacies in Bangkok have been charged with selling drugs without proper licences.
The Consumer Protection Police Division (CPPD) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) raided 14 pharmacies in Bangkok to see if they complied with the law, especially the requirement that drugs must be sold by a licensed pharmacist.
CPPD and the FDA had launched this campaign earlier in the month after learning that some pharmacists were selling cough syrups and Tramadol, an opioid pain medicine, across the counter to teenagers.
It is believed that these drugs are being used to concoct the “4x100” cocktail, comprising kratom leaves, cough syrup and/or Tramadol, Coca-Cola and ice.
CCPD chief Pol Colonel Supoj Pumyaem said the 13 suspects had been selling drugs across the counter despite not being licensed as pharmacists. Some have only completed secondary education, he pointed out.
“They were hired to run the pharmacy at a salary of 12,000 to 18,000 baht per month,” he said.
He added that these pharmacies had been legally registered by licensed pharmacists, who reportedly came to check the pharmacies just once a week.
Officials also confiscated 24,722 bottles of cough syrup, 4,150 Tramadol capsules, 572 counterfeit drugs, 212 unregistered drugs and 21 controlled drugs from investigated stores. The confiscated drugs have an estimated value of 1.4 million baht.
Supoj said officials are also investigating the owners of these pharmacies to find out what part they played in selling drugs to teenagers. Officials also found that some of the pharmacies located in the Ramkhamhaeng-Huamark areas are owned by the same person.
Investigators suspect that the owner opened many branches in a ploy to get a larger quota of cough syrup from manufacturers, who are only allowed to sell 300 bottles per month to a store.