Pharmacy shut over selling hormone without prescription


The stadium branch of Gishen Pharmacy was closed last week after a government investigation indicated that they sold Erythroprotien (EPO) without a prescription.
Previously the Guardian, German broadcaster ARD and Holland Media conducted an investigative study and they were able to purchase nine vials of EPO from the pharmacy at a cost of 2,430 birr, without any prescription. After the purchase the writer suggested that it was easy to obtain doping products in the country and that the anti-doping agency tasked with testing athletes was disorganized.
After the article was published, an investigation team from the Ethiopian Food, Medicines and Health Care Administration and Control Authority checked the pharmacy stock and verified that some EPO was sold without a prescription, although it was obtained by the pharmacy legally. This resulted in the Agency closing the pharmacy’s branch for three months and suspending the license of the pharmacist who sold the EPO without a prescription for six months.
‘’The drugs should have been sold with a prescription but Gishen failed to do this. We will investigate other pharmacies as well,” an official statement read.
Gishen previously promised to apologize if they were found culpable but has not yet done so.
Erythropoietin (EPO) is a peptide hormone that is produced naturally by the human body. It is released from the kidneys and acts on the bone marrow to stimulate red blood cell production.
EPO has an enormous therapeutic benefit in the treatment of anemia related to kidney disease, its misuse can lead to serious health risks for athletes who use this substance simply to gain a competitive edge. It is well known that EPO, by thickening the blood, leads to an increased risk of several deadly diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, and cerebral or pulmonary embolism. The misuse of recombinant human EPO may also lead to autoimmune diseases with serious health consequences.
Currently Ethiopia imports EPO from the United Arab Emirates through three agents.