Umm Abdel-Rahman almost lost her six year son, after she administered him a drug contrary to his doctor’s orders; as she bought the prescription drugs from a grocery shop in the city of Houla in the Homs countryside!
The phenomenon of medicines being sold in grocery stores, shops, and stalls has recently spread in the northern Homs countryside. There are no health controlling authorities, nor any other competent bodies, taking stock of these irregularities.
In the town of Houla, for example, headache and inflammation pills and serum bags are sold side by side with vegetables and food supplies. Some merchants have even opened pharmacies in the region, without possessing a degree entitling them to do so.
Of the twenty pharmacies currently operating in Houla, only four are owned by pharmacists with proper academic and professional certification, entitling them to practice the profession. Despite the warning by pharmacists and specialists of the danger of medicines sold randomly; the phenomenon persists, thereby increasing the risk to the area’s residents, already lacking in many living essentials due to the siege by the Syrian regime forces.