Monday, 2 Oct 2023

Can aid workers hand out expired medication? Doctors say it’s ‘not entirely unusual’

In Ethiopia, 13 Canadian citizens working with Alberta-based NGO Canadian Humanitarian are being detained after allegations surfaced that the group was handing out expired medication.

In a statement to Global News, Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said he spoke with his Ethiopian counterpart about the Canadian detainees and said he would provide consular assistance, but was unable to discuss specifics of the situation.

In an online statement, Canadian Humanitarian said while they could not comment on the medicine’s expiry, they insisted the medication was still safe.

For the most part, Jillian Kohler, director of the World Health Organization’s Collaborating Centre for Governance, Accountability, and Transparency in the Pharmaceutical Sector, said doctors are not supposed to hand out expired medicine.

When she first heard about the Canadians being detained in Ethiopia, she said it struck her as “very unusual.”

“It’s not entirely unusual, but it really is case-specific,” she said.

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