Court to sentence fake Gamora HIV cure suppliers on Tuesday 12th March 2024

The Mangochi Magistrate Court has set Tuesday as a day on which it will sentence two women who stand accused on six counts bordering on violation of the HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Management) Act Number 9 of 2018 and the Pharmacy and Medicines Regulatory Authority (PMRA) Act.

Senior Resident Magistrate Muhammad Chande adjourned the case on Friday afternoon after hearing from the State how the two women – Mary Saidi (25) and Molly Kainga (34) – peddled the antibiotic drug Gentamicin as an HIV cure christened Gamorah.

The two pleaded guilty on the following six counts:

  1. Tampering with the medicine labels contrary to section 106 (1) of the PMRA Act.
  2. Keeping medicines on unlicensed premises contrary to sections 86 and 95 (1b) of the PMRA Act.
  3. Dealing in medical supplies without an appropriate pharmaceutical license contrary to section 56 of the PMRA Act.
  4. Advertising medicinal products without authorization contrary to Section 68 of the PMRA Act.
  5. Proclaiming by publishing false, inaccurate and misleading information on HIV and AIDS contrary to section 25 of the HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Management) Act of 9 of 2018.
  6. Obtaining money through theft by trick contrary to section 321 of the penal code.

The two used to buy Gentamicin from pharmacies and replaced their stickers with those of Gamorah.

Facts presented in court indicate that the two were aware that what they were selling was not a cure for HIV and they did not want to meet their “clients” for fear of being identified.

Caution statements that the prosecution presented in court indicate further that the two together sold their fake drugs to 16 people with Saidi saying she raked in between K800,000 and K900,000 from the unsuspecting individuals living with HIV.

The case has generated enormous interest as it is the first arrest and successful prosecution of people publishing false, inaccurate and misleading information on HIV.

It follows a complaint by National AIDS Commission after being alerted of a Tik Tok video, in which Saidi advertised the fake drug, went viral.

PMRA and officers from the drug enforcement unit of the Malawi Police Service followed up the complaint, leading to the arrest of the two.

Two operators of the pharmacies that supplied the Gentamicin were also arrested and their case is ongoing.

Saidi comes from Kalonga Village, Traditional Authority Mponda in Mangochi while Kainga comes from Kalilombe Village, Traditional Authority Khumbira in Ntcheu.

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