Ethiopia: Gishen Pharmacy disputes selling drugs without prescriptions

Amakelech Lulu, CEO of Gishen Pharmacy Photo Capital

Capital – Gishen Pharmacy says they will publicly apologize if it is proven their pharmacists sold medicine without a prescription. An article in the Guardian entitled: “Inside the doping hotspot of Ethiopia: dodgy testing and Erythroprotien (EPO) over the counter,” which came as a result of a joint investigation by the German broadcaster ARD and Holland Media, suggests that it is easy to obtain doping products in the country and that the anti-doping agency tasked with testing athletes is disorganized.

The writer of the article claimed that they bought nine phials of EPO were purchased at a cost of 2,430 birr from Gishen Pharmacy which is located around Addis Ababa stadium and no prescriptions were sought when the transaction was made.


However, Amakelech Lulu, CEO of Gishen Pharmacy told the press last Tuesday that the company is trying to determine the validity of the story.

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“We have been in the business for a long period and we are careful about selling drugs to patients, now the Guardian is telling us we are selling EPO to runners who used it to get more energy but we know that we only sell this drug to people who have anemia, kidney and a heart problem when they bring a prescription from the hospital.’’

A journalist asked Amakelech why they have spoken out about the issue if the pharmacy did not complete their own investigation.

“We are not saying if the medicine was sold without a prescription or not, but the article put a bad image on us and I think it is right to defend our image when uncertain information is leaked to the media.”

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Amakelech who is the vice head of Ethiopian Pharmacies Association added that the Guardian report is untimely and may have a hidden agenda.

‘As they said ’ the report was finished three months ago but they made the article while the London world championship was being carried out which puts a psychological impact on the Ethiopian athletics team.’

A statement from the Ethiopian Athletics Federation called the allegations on the doping “vague and unsubstantiated” and said that “none of the allegations as presented relating to Ethiopian athletes accords with our experience”.

Currently EPO is imported from the United Arab Emirates by three importers.

Previously ARD produced a similar documentary on Kenya and Russia.

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