Sunday July 20 2014

Government expands NDA with wider powers

By Yasiin Mugerwa Richard Wanambwa

PARLIAMENT-Cabinet has approved the move to transform the National Drug Authority (NDA) into a new body, the National Food and Drugs Authority (NFDA) with wider mandate.

Information minister Rose Namayanja said on Thursday that the national food and drugs body will be charged with combating sub-standard, counterfeit, expired foods and medicines in the country.

“Cabinet hopes that NFDA will be in better position to protect our country from threats to human/animal health from items like ill-prepared, genetically modified foods, medicines and concoctions of food supplements,” Ms Namayanja said at a news conference in Kampala.

She said cosmetics known to contain hazardous skin lightening chemicals like mercury and hydroquinone will be banned.

“The abuse of these cosmetics is already exposing some of our people to health risks like diabetes; hypertension, kidney ailments and heart diseases,” she said.

Under the control of the Ministry of Health, the new body will be responsible for regulating and controlling the manufacture, importation, exportation, advertisement, distribution, sale and use of such hazardous products.

In the proposed amendment to NDA Act, 1993 and the National Drug Policy, Cabinet resolved to expand the membership of the NDA board to include experts in food and medicine quality and safety and more staff will be recruited to enable NFDA execute its expanded mandate.

Meanwhile, the body has approved a new board to be chaired by Mr Gersom Gunyalli Onyango.

Other board members are; Ms Grace Tubwita; Mr Stephen Bagonzya Mugumya; Dickson Longoya Council and Dr Maggie Kigozi, the former Uganda Investment Authority director. The new NFA board is expected to expire on July 1, 2018.

NDA regulates manufacturing, importation and sale of drugs in the country. It has been sensitising the public regarding the registration of herbal medicines.

NDA also ensures that all medicines manufactured locally or imported into the country meet quality standards.