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 Health Ministry, before the supplier ships the product.

That’s according to a statement from the Health and Wellness Ministry yesterday.

The Ministry notes that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more Jamaicans have been utilizing alcohol-based hand sanitizers in the absence of soap and water.

The Ministry has endorsed the use of that type of hand sanitizer for this purpose.

However, the Health Ministry says it must ensure the safety, quality and efficacy of the products being imported for sale and use to the Jamaican public.

The Ministry says it notes the significant increase in the number of entities importing alcohol-based hand sanitizers without the requisite approval.

It advising that all prospective importers of hand sanitizers or alcohol for local manufacture, must first contact its Standards and Regulation Division, located at 45 to 47 Barbados Avenue in New Kingston.

It says this is critical so importers may be appropriately guided regarding the requirements for importation.

According to the Health Ministry, once the requirements have been satisfied, the applicant is to submit an application using the Permit Application for Psychotropic, Narcotics and Precursors Form, MHFD 19.

It says this yellow form is available from the Standards and Regulation Division and is required to obtain permission to import.

The Ministry says 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.

It further notes that it is only the permit issued by the Ministry of Health and Wellness that authorizes the Customs Department to release a shipment of hand sanitizer to the importer.

The Health Ministry says hand sanitizers seen on the market that were not approved by the Ministry may also be seized.