Authorities are quickly trying to find a solution to keep GNC stores in Costa Rica, said Vice President Ana Helena Chacón Tuesday.
Last week the company that specializes in nutritional supplements announced it would close its 33 stores here because the health ministry has suddenly barred some of its products that are registered in the United States. Initially, the health ministry cited GNC for having counterfeit products, meaning certain items had health registration numbers that corresponded to different products.
Vice President Chacón said the case is now being chalked up to a processing error, as many of these products have been sold in the country for years without consequential evidence of health concerns.
Ms. Chacón said the government is seeking new regulations that could allow certain GNC products into Costa Rica and expects a resolution within a week. She denied that the ministry was making an exception to the laws for GNC’s benefit.
In a statement Thursday, the president of the Cámara de Comercio de Costa Rica blamed the health ministry for not providing flexible laws that encourage foreign investment. He urged them to immediately change parts of the regulation that classify these pre-approved products.
“The Ministerio de Salud’s actions against this company are surprising,” said the chamber president, Francisco Llobet, “when there is complete inaction against other companies that distribute smuggled counterfeits or tampered products, including medicines, without any sanitary control.”
Representatives from the ministry responded with a release of their own, saying medical products for sale must be listed under the health registry per law. It added that the ministry did not close the GNC stores and that the company decided to shut down their operations here after being told of the registry issues.