24 June, 2010

Life in prison for cough syrup

There is an absolutely disgusting story in today's gulf news:

"Dubai: A pharmacist is serving a life sentence for selling a bottle of controlled medicine for Dh100, a judicial official told Gulf News.

The Indian pharmacist, identified as A.Sh. is in his mid-40s and had been working for a private hospital in Dubai. He is undergoing his punishment at Dubai Central Jail after being convicted by a court of selling a bottle of Actifed Compound Linctus for Dh100.

A.Sh. told Gulf News that he had been working as pharmacist for a private hospital in Dubai for nearly seven years and had never sold any medicine without prescriptions.

"An Emirati HIV patient identified as Khalid used to come to our hospital for treatment and doctors prescribed for him Actifed Compound Linctus," he said.

A.Sh. recalled the day when he was arrested saying that Khalid came to the hospital pharmacy asking for the medicine."

Life in prison for a bottle of Actifed Compound Lictus (known in the UAE as a controlled drug and in other countries as horrific 'cough syrup') that doesn't even contain enough codeine (10 mg) to be abused.

Keeping in mind the person that bought the cough syrup was actually prescribed to have cough syrup in the first place makes this story all the more ridiculous.


Dave said...

Please please please tell me there is more to this story than meets the eye.

Anonymous said...

This is Gulf News, there is no name, no date, no facts in news. Do not trust this type of news. Gulf news have one page for such misleading news everyday.

Dubai Jazz said...

Well, if he doesn't like our laws he can always leave.....

oh, wait..... Never mind.

Seabee said...

Anon@15.49, the story is clearly credited to Bassma Al Jandaly, Senior Reporter.

Dave, even the basic info in the story raises questions. Is the 'drug' user in jail for receiving, and presumably using, it? He may have been prescribed the medicine, but what he received was illegal. Wasn't it?

And he tipped off the police in advance in what the story clearly says was deliberatly planned entrapment. It says "...they were tipped off that he was about to make a sale..."

And life? You don't get that for selling tonnes of real drugs!

It's all very fishy.

Anonymous said...

I cannot wrap my mind around it; life for selling cough syrup?! I agree with Seabee; it sounds so fishy to conceive using basic powers of deduction.

rosh said...

The pharmacist was silly to have made the second "sale". Possibly, to make some fuloos on side I assume, in which case I think he should be jailed..not for life though. More importantly he should have called the cops on the moron for bringing up Vitamin W to break a law!

Life in prison..? There has to be more to the slaughtered version from the lovely GN.

B.D. said...

Rosh... according the to story the guy who sold his bottle said he was pressured/threatened by the patient who claimed to have some "wasta." So, he wasn't trying to get any fuloos on the side.

Now we know how the "wasta" thing works here. Some nationals try to coerce expats on the basis of their wasta and some expats just tremble in fear of what they suppose to be someone's wasta.

Whatever the case, the story points to something we've seen time and time again with the justice system here: punishments that seem to lack any semblance of fairness and justice.

I've seen enough of this in the papers here to understand that the UAE, despite being modern in many ways, is still a banana republic with regard to legal matters.

It is basically a crap shoot. Tread very carefully in airports, in the presence of any law officials and, I dare say, when interacting with nationals.

Al-ain Rose said...

BD, I reckon your Wasta is more powerful than any national's. You belong to mama America after all :)

Kyle said...

Just a quick question from a seasoned drinker's point of view:

Shouldn't the authorities here shove all bartenders & Emirati guys drinking at bars in the slammer, as well?

I'm sure all spirits dispensed at bars contain more alcohol than this cough reliever, no?

So, I don't see the big deal in dispensing a *cough* syrup that contains a fraction of alcohol compared to what is served in bars. Unless the 10mg codeine kicks a$$ in a fashion we're not aware of!

Gerry said...

there are precious few details in this story beyond the pharmacist's initials. even given the ridiculous "anti-drug" laws here, life in prison for cough medicine does not seem like a real judgment.

on the other hand, when you can get four years in the slammer for just having drugs in your bloodstream... maybe it's not so farfetched.

Anonymous said...

In uae wata is the key to everything.

I am a doctor and I can assure you that this 10 mg codien is nothing.Codeine is safe is from 10-60mg at once. Look at alcohol abuse which present in many cities in uae.

Anna Fani said...

This is one scary story!!!

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