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The News in Brief

Tuesday, September 2
Government introduces tougher prescription drug laws

Pharmacies across the country have been busier than normal as people rush to stock-up on medicines before new rules restricting the sale of thousands of medicines is enforced in Georgia.

From today, a selection of medicines will be regulated and only available with a prescription from a doctor.

For the first time in Georgia, more than 6,000 types of medicines, including antibiotics, medicines used for cardio-vascular diseases, as well as hormonal, endocrine and oncology products, will no longer be sold over the counter without a prescription.

The amendment to the Drugs and Pharmaceutical Activities Law comes into effect from September 1.

The Ministry of Health said the reason behind the law change was to reduce the current high use of easily accessed prescription drugs for self-treatment and to reduce the cases where people are addicted to pharmacy medicines. The new rules will help regulate Group II pharmaceutical products with the aim of reducing the inappropriate use of such products and preventing illegal drug abuse.

The changes mainly affect Group II medicines. From today, people must present a prescription if they want to access 6,209 types of such medications.

Meanwhile more than 3,000 types of medicines remain available from pharmacies without a prescription. These include common medicines used for healing stomach ulcers, vitamins and minerals, general fever medications, anti-inflammatory drugs and medicines to treat the common cold and cough.

On a side note, the Ministry of Health is conducting a pilot program to determine the viability of establishing a prescription institute in Georgia. About 120 medical and pharmaceutical establishments in Tbilisi and other regions of Georgia are involved in the program.

Foreign Minister of Finland to Visit Georgia

Foreign Minister of Finland Erkki Tuomioja will visit Georgia on September 1-2.

Tuomioja, who will arrive in Tbilisi after visiting Iran, will meet his Georgian counterpart, as well as representatives of civil society, according to the Finnish foreign ministry.

Tuomioja will also meet President Giorgi Margvelashvili and PM Irakli Garibashvili, according to the Georgian foreign ministry.

“Aside from bilateral relations between Finland and Georgia, the topics of discussion are, among others, relations between the EU and Georgia, the international talks in Geneva regarding the Georgian conflicts and other current foreign policy issues, such as the situation in Ukraine,” the Finnish foreign ministry said.

50 Yazidis from Iraq ask for asylum in Georgia

Kurdish Yazidis who fled from Iraq are seeking asylum in Georgia.

Agit Mirzoev, the head of House of Yazidis in Georgia, told DF Watch that about 50 Yazidis have come to Georgia and asked the government for asylum.

He said another group is expected to arrive later.

For several weeks, Yazidis in Iraq have been persecuted for religious reasons and been forced to either convert to Islam or be killed.

Their request must now be decided by the Ministry of IDPs and Refugees. This will take time, because if they are given asylum, the government must find a place for them to live and other forms of assistance.

The ministry press office told DF Watch that the procedure may last six months and each application is considered individually. This will involve looking at how dangerous it is for each person to stay in their country, how safe is it to let this person live in Georgia, and how much it is related to political issues. After all these things have been considered, a decision is made.

Mirzoev says that the asylum seekers are currently living in the countryside, at a place provided by his organization.

House of Yazidis in Georgia provides temporary living, food and first essentials and is helping them communicate with the ministry.

He told us Yazidis who are in Tbilisi have certain ties with Yazidis who live in some other place, including those who live in Iraq. More Yazidis who are persecuted in Iraq are expected to come to Georgia, but Mirzoev fears that new and restricted visa rules which come into force in Georgia from September 1 may make it difficult for them to enter the country.

Many of the Iraqi Yazidis don’t have a passport.

“We are working on this issue with lawyers and the government and we hope that we will find a way out in each specific case,” Mirzoev says.
(DF Watch)

Georgian PM invited to US President’s reception

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili has been invited to attend a celebration in the name of the United States President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle in New York on September 23.

The reception is being organized within the 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), which will convene on September 16. The general debate will open a few days later on September 24.

The leader of the Georgian Government confirmed he and his wife Nunu Tamazashvili would attend the celebration after both being invited by the US President.

The evening will be attended by all heads of delegations of the General Assembly’s member states and their spouses.

Meanwhile Garibashvili is scheduled to speak at a session within the UNGA on September 26.