BLANTYRE—Crooked Malawi traders are smuggling AIDS drugs to South Africa where they find a ready market in Malawians and other foreign nationalities who can't access the drugs through public hospitals.
Apart from ARVs, people are also smuggling Indocin and Bactrim.
One of the smugglers said one bottle of ARVs bought from private hospitals cost K7, 000 in Malawi, but is sold at K18, 000 in SA. Bactrim, which could be bought at K20 a tablet in Malawi, is sold at K180 in SA.
The consignments are hidden under food warmers, bags of rice or envelopes. The drugs are sold secretly at the famous Park Station in Johannesburg, South Africa or at Munorama bus depot in that country.
Malawians and other foreigners, living illegally in South Africa, fear going to public hospitals to access medical help because they are required to produce genuine identity cards.
Malawi has over 300,000 people on free AIDS drugs. Every year, hundreds of Malawians trek to the golden country to seek jobs, mainly as domestic workers.
---©2012 The Maravi Post. Reproduction authorised, with usual acknowledgment.