Representatives of the company Canna Med Panama SA said they had borne the travel expenses of the Minsa officials.
The National Authority for Transparency and Access to Information (Antai) initiated an investigation for a possible conflict of interest as a result of a publication of the newspaper La Prensa that revealed that a trip made last June to the United States by the director of Farmacias y Drogas, Elvia Lau, and four other officials of the Ministry of Health ( Minsa
) of Panama, was paid by a private company.
"We initiated an investigation for a possible conflict of interest in the case of public servants' trips to the United States, at the request of the Minsa
," Antai reported on Twitter.
In June, the Minsa
had reported on Lau's trip, who was accompanied by Elsa Jara, head of the Department of Controlled Substances, and other officials, to the Cannabis Sativa Plant , dedicated to the production and processing of cannabis, noting that it was it was an invitation from the University of Louisiana "to learn about the control and quality procedures ... and thus expand the knowledge of the regulatory authority of Panama."
However, La Prensa published versions of representatives of the company Canna Med Panama SA, who indicated that the invitation and the costs of the trip and stay were at their own expense, and that the officials knew it.
"The Ministry of Health asked the National Authority for Transparency and Access to Information to examine whether the content of the note published on August 26, 2021 in the newspaper La Prensa, entitled" Cannabis, the secret trip of 5 officials to the United States ”, constitutes an infraction to the norms of the Uniform Code of Ethics of the public servants that work in the entities of the central government”, indicates the Minsa
in a note sent to the media this Friday.
This information is known just at the moment in which the National Assembly discusses the bill that regulates the medicinal use of cannabis, which this Thursday was approved in a second debate.
If the medicinal use of cannabis is approved in Panama, it falls precisely on the National Directorate of Pharmacy and Drugs, the issuance of health records.
"By complying with due process, the criteria and observations will be expected to issue an institutional position on the matter," said Minsa