JIS News

The Ministry of Health and Wellness wishes to advise that all entities desirous of importing alcohol-based hand sanitizers into Jamaica, must first have an approved permit in hand from the Standards & Regulation Division of the Ministry, before the supplier ships the product.

The current global outbreak of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has affected Jamaica, as it has, numerous other countries and since its emergence, alcohol-based hand sanitizers have become the standard for sanitizing the hands.

Although, handwashing must be preferred choice for hand hygiene when the hands are visibly soiled, alcohol-based preparations are known to rapidly and effectively inactivate a wide range of potentially harmful microorganisms.

Given the foregoing, the Ministry has endorsed the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers for this purpose. However, the Ministry must ensure the safety, quality and efficacy of the products being imported for sale and use to the Jamaican public.

The Ministry has taken note of the significant increase in the number of entities importing alcohol-based hand sanitizers without the requisite approval.

The Ministry is advising that all prospective importers of hand sanitizers or alcohol for local manufacture, must first contact the Standards and Regulation Division, located at 45 -47 Barbados Avenue, New Kingston (corner of Grenada Crescent and Barbados Avenue), so that they may be appropriately guided regarding the requirements for importation. Once the requirements have been satisfied, the applicant submits an application using the Permit Application for Psychotropic, Narcotics and Precursors Form, MHFD 19 (yellow colour), available from the Division, to obtain permission to import.

Shipments which arrive in the island prior to a permit being approved are not guaranteed clearance from the ports, and risk being seized and destroyed. The public is asked to note further that it is the permit issued by the Ministry of Health and Wellness only, that authorizes the Customs Department to release a shipment of hand sanitizer to the importer. Hand sanitizers seen on the market that were not approved by the Ministry may also be seized.

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