You risk having the following if you buy medication from road side vendours, hawkers and unlicensed practitioners

The inhabitants of Africa and other underdeveloped countries face a similar threat which should be a public health concern; the sale of medication by unlicensed individuals. By unlicensed, we mean they haven't registered with the authorities of the state to sell medication to the population. Even though it looks harmless to just walk up to a hawker and get some medication for some ailments, here are some of the reasons that will make you think twice and seek trusted medical advice.

1) Sale of contraband medications
In USA, the Food and Drug administration (FDA) is responsible for protecting the public health of the people. They are able to determine what drug is safe for patients in the United States and all over the world. There are some medications that after manufacturing, the side effects will outweigh the therapeutic uses and such drugs will therefore be banned for use. Road side vendours who still have such medication in their stock may sell them to the population since they sell medications without any medical prescription. The risk that may follow after the usage of such medication may lead to other diseases and even death. It is therefore safer to get medications from trusted healthcare providers because they can never sell contraband products.

2) Some usually have little or no knowledge of dosage and drug prescription
Before a health care provider prescribes medication, he takes into consideration the

  • age of the client
  • Nutritional status
  • Weight 
  • Previous drug allergies, side effects of the medication and so many other factors. Many medication hawkers will usually give you medication based on the signs and symptoms you present with and will hardly take into consideration the above factors. This may cause other medical complications and even death.

3) Anaphylactic shock
Anaphylactic shock is a life threatening condition which occurs as a result of  exposure to an allergen. This causes life threatening conditions known as anaphylaxis. This is can occur when a person is allergic to a certain compound in a medication and the roadside vendour didn't ask about allergies before selling the medication to the client. That is why in developed countries, it is very difficult to purchase medication without a prescription from a Nurse, Medical doctor or Pharmacist. 

4) Paralysis and loss of function in some body parts

Paralysis here is mostly associated when either the a medication is administered at the wrong site  and a nerve is damaged. People have been victims of paralysis of one of their legs because someone who had no knowledge of anatomy and drug administration administered an intramuscular injection which damaged the sciatic nerve. Such disasters are tragic and irreversible. 

5) Sores from injection sites
Hospitals have received clients with necrotic sores on their buttocks and upon questioning, they realize that it resulted because an injection was given at that site. Most at times, this occurs because a medication was administered at the wrong site, or the wrong dose/concentration was given. The victims may even undergo skin grafting so that flesh can be added to the wound so it can grow back. they will usually spend months and lots of money before they get healed. All of this could have been avoided if they went to a trusted health facility

6) Expired medication 
Some medication hawkers can sell expired medication to their buyers knowingly or unknowingly.The potency and efficacy of an expired medication may drop and so you may not have the desired effects in a timely manner. This can lead to drug resistance and re-occurrence of the illness. Malaria is a very good example of this. 
Women who use oral contraceptives should always check the expiry date because an expired oral contraceptive may result in an unwanted pregnancy. 

 Lyon RC, Taylor JS, Porter DA, Prasanna HR, Hussain AS. Stability profiles of drug products extended beyond labeled expiration dates. J Pharm Sci. 2006 Jul;95(7):1549-60. PubMed Drug expiration Dates-Are They Still Safe to Take?

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