Government to control prices of malaria, diarrhoea drugs

Friday October 10 2014

By Stephen Otage

Government has introduced an accreditation system for importers, retailers and wholesalers of essential malaria and diarrhoea drugs to ensure they sell genuine and fairly priced drugs.

This follows the conclusion of a two-year consultative programme between government, importers, retailers, wholesalers and consumers of the drugs.

This was to ascertain the sources of the drugs and why there has been drug resistance in some cases, varying prices and counterfeits on the market.

According to Mr Samuel Opio, the secretary Uganda Council of the Pharmaceutical Society, the intervention follows the exorbitant prices patients have been paying to get treatment and the many failed attempts to curb drug resistance to malaria and diarrhoea.

This is in addition to the high number of deaths attributed to the two diseases which are known to be the leading causes of deaths in the country.

“Diarrhoea and malaria kill 10,000 children and 23,000 adults per year and these are the known biggest killer diseases. Getting a dose to treat each one of them in private health facilities has been costing about Shs15,000 which most of our people cannot afford,” Mr Opio said.

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He said with the new arrangement, all importers of the drugs will be required to get accreditation from the Ministry of Health as well as import drugs from only those manufacturers who have been endorsed by the World Health Organisation so as to understand where the fake drugs are coming from.

He added that the retailers will be required to sell the drugs at agreed prices because they have been subsidised such that they do not sell them above the set price.

“Of course access to these drugs in public facilities remains free but you can now get a full dose of Diarrhoea for Shs2,000 for children and a full dose of malaria and Diarrhoea treatment for adults at Shs5,000,” he said.

sotage@ug.nationmedia.com

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