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The original controlling body for drugs and dangerous substances was the Poisons Board, established under the Medical Council, going back to the late 1940ís. The Board comprised the President of Medical Council, a doctor, and the three pharmacist members of Council. The Poison regulations were divided into two parts. The first dealt entirely with medicines, including Dangerous Drugs, while the second dealt with what we now call hazardous substances. The actual regulations were based on those of Britain 1929, with one major change; in the UK, sulphonamide drugs, new and fairly potent in those days were only available on prescription. Locally these were made available on signature in the Poisons Book to farmers and miners out in the bush for the urgent treatment of their staff with infections. The Board was superseded by the Drugs Control Council in the early 1970ís.

At that time, there was a big campaign by W.H.O. to make plans and build quality control laboratories in South and Central Africa and it was eventually proposed that three regional laboratories be set up in specified countries to deal with their requirements and those of immediately surrounding countries. The final plan was for there to be three similar laboratories in Kenya, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. It was also proposed that the financing would come either from Government directly, or with additional help from donors and even commercial sources. The Kenyan project got bogged down in a dispute over land availability, and thus who would be responsible for the lab, all this being a fight between the University in Nairobi and the Kenyan Government. The Mozambique project was to be financed by Switzerland, but it was not clear whether this was promised by the Swiss Government or the big Swiss multinationals. The money was certainly sent out, but never seen again.

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