Activists in Damascus reported dozens of cases of severe poisoning and excessive allergic reactions among children under six as a result of the consumption of medicines that were not valid for use. The medications were distributed by the health institutions of the Assad regime to residents in the areas under its control in the capital Damascus to ease the desperate shortages of basic medications.
Reports circulated recently on social media sites described how many children were rushed to hospitals for treatment of drug poisoning resulting from the consumption of medicines that the regime procured on the black market.
The activists pointed out that the Assad regime’s Ministry of Health ordered a halt to the distribution of all medications containing dextromethorphan, an antitussive drug prescribed for children under six.
Activist Wassil Abdul Hadi said that drugs of an unknown origin have flooded pharmacies in Damascus, adding that they entered Syria illegally, mostly smuggled from Lebanon and Iraq to be sold on the black market without any proper oversight.
Earlier this month, the regime’s Ministry of Health took the decision to withdraw six types of medications from pharmacies and destroy them warning citizens against using them for containing harmful substances.
A major corruption scandal in the health sector erupted in April 2016 involving senior Assad regime officials. However, the government of the Assad regime soon imposed a news blackout on the issue, with reports of 800 million Syrian pounds worth of corruption in the sector.
According to newspapers close to the Assad regime, over 200,000 doses of vaccine for children stored in the warehouses of the Ministry of Health had to be destroyed due to poor storage conditions. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Al-Quds Al-Arabi Newspaper)