Hoima. The National Drug Authority (NDA) has recovered government drugs worth millions of shillings from private pharmacies and clinics that were illegally selling them to members of the public.
The government drugs embossed with inscriptions “not for sale” are prescribed and given to patients free of charge at gazzetted public health facilities.
Many a time, when desperate patients go to seek medical attention, they are referred to private clinics and medical centres to buy drugs and are charged exorbitantly.
Some of these health centres are owned by government health officials.
This has contributed to the constant drug stock outs in public health facilities.
In a seemingly organised cartel, some crafty government officials collude with private businessmen and steal the medicine.
From June 17 to 21, the National Drug Authority (NDA) carried out an operation in the districts of Kiryandongo, Mubende, Masindi, Kibaale, Kasanda, Buliisa, Kyenjojo, Hoima, Kyegegwa, Mityana, Kabarole, Kiboga, Kagadi, and Kyankwanzi to check on the legality and operations of drug outlets.
Mr Chris Luzinda, the NDA regional manager, said 503 drug outlets were inspected in western region and 154 outlets were closed for selling expired drugs, selling government drugs, lacking valid permits and using unqualified personnel.
Also, 204 boxes of assorted medicine worth Shs68.6m were impounded from the closed drug shops.
Some were government drugs which were found being sold in private drug outlets, Mr Luzinda said.
NDA officials observed the absence of in-charges of drug shops, leaving the businesses to be operated by unqualified personnel.
Other drug outlets were found operating in unsuitable premises which compromises the quality of medicines. Some drug shops were found conducting clinical work, contrary to NDA guidelines.
Also, there were drug operators were found not adhering to the recommended storage conditions of drugs as specified by the manufacturer.
For example, Pen & Strep, an antibiotic for veterinary use to be stored between the temperature range of two to eight degrees Celsius as per the manufacturer’s specifications, was found stored on shelves at room temperature, a thing that leads to degeneration of the drug.
Some drug outlets were found selling expired drugs which pose a danger to the health of the community.
The risk averted by closing the drug outlets reduces the disease burden of unsuspecting population as a result of being conned by quacks or unqualified health personnel, said Mr Fredrick Ssekyana, the NDA public relations officer.
He added that the operation was aimed at promoting quality health service delivery resulting in better treatment of illnesses and prevention of diseases as the population access medicines from only licensed drug outlets manned by qualified health personnel.
Mr Samuel Kyomukama, the NDA head of operations, said 10 people were arrested in Kyankwanzi District for hawking herbal medicine.
Vehicles of the two suspects were impounded with their medicines and their files are being worked upon for them to be arraigned before the courts of law, Mr Kyomukama said.