What types of inspections are conducted at retail pharmacies? How often? Are some Pharmacies inspected more than others?

here are different types of inspections that may be carried out as and when necessary and at an undefined frequency. These are:

3.1 New premises inspections

These are inspections conducted to assess compliance of a new premises to applicable legislation and guidelines upon receipt of an application for a premises licence.

3.2 Supervision inspections

Random checks carried are out to ensure licensed premises are under the continuous personal supervision of licensed persons in line with legislative requirements. Supervision inspections are conducted randomly within the premises operating times or when the premises handling medicines is open for business. In the event the premises is found without the continuous personal supervision of a licensed supervisor, the premises shall be issued an instruction to close by the inspectors. The premises will be issued instruction to open after confirmation of supervision and payment of re-inspection fees.

3.3 Investigative inspection

This is a type of inspection where it is suspected that there is contravention of the law and necessary investigations are carried out which may include speaking to the pharmacy owner, pharmacist or other staff at the pharmacy or premises in question or a members of the public

Investigations are carried out to ascertain, inter alia, whether:

i. Offences have been committed contrary to the provisions of Medicines and Allied Substances Control Act [Chapter 15:02]

ii. Offences have been committed contrary to the provisions of the Dangerous Drugs Act and its Regulations.

Investigations are carried out as a result of non-compliances identified in the inspection process or using intelligence internal to MCAZ other agencies or members of the public. Investigation activities are frequently conducted in conjunction with other agencies. The MCAZ has carried out investigations with the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) -CID Drugs. Once an investigation is concluded a report is completed and a copy may be furnished to the party (pharmacist/pharmacy owner) under investigation or inspection. The pharmacist/pharmacy owner is invited to submit their comments on the contents of the report. The report and submissions (if provided) are considered by the Licensing and Enforcement Committee.  Matters may be referred to ZRP for prosecution.

3.4 Blitz

Conducted with Interpol and or Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) -CID Drugs primarily on un-licensed premises.

3.5 Routine Inspections

Our inspectorate endeavors to carry out a comprehensive inspection of every pharmacy at least once every two years. The frequency of routine inspections is ideally the same although there may be instances when a pharmacy may be inspected once every year. The target may of course be difficult to reach because the number of premises that we inspect is on the increase. The MCAZ also inspects pharmaceutical manufacturers, wholesalers, industrial clinics, medical practitioners (both Veterinary and Human), and public health institutions.