Museveni: Why hasn’t Covidex been regularised? 

Combo: President Museveni. Inset, a woman displays a bottle of Covidex herbal drug. PHOTOS/ FILE

What you need to know:

  • It’s not clear whether Covidex is one of the drugs Mr Museveni has been using to treat Covid during the period he’s been in self-isolation.

President Museveni on Sunday asked his ministers to explain why Covidex, a herbal drug for use in the treatment of Covid-19 and other viral infections, had not been regularised, as he declared himself cured from coronavirus which had sent him into self-isolation for 11 days.

Prof Patrick Ogwang, clinical pharmacologist has been producing, distributing and selling the drug through Jena Herbals Uganda Limited since June 2021, when the National Drug Authority (NDA) cleared his firm to deal in it.

“I need a quick answer from Dr [Monica] Musenero (Minister, Science, Technology and Innovation) and from the Ministry of Health. How can somebody (Prof Ogwang) claim that he can cure corona which has killed so many of our people and it is now three years and you have not confirmed his claim or proved it to be a lie? More seriousness is required here," Mr Museveni said in a statement that was posted on his Twitter handle on Sunday as he declared himself virus-free after further tests of his samples turned out negative.

“On the war with corona, it is now confirmed that I am a veteran graduate of the war with that enemy. It has been exactly 11 days since the battle started officially on June 7, 2023, on the Day of the State of the Nation Address. I had actually felt a mild pre-flu type of state on Tuesday (June 6), the day before. I had, however, ignored the symptoms until the following day when I had a slight running nose for a little while. That is when I called my doctors to take samples for checking,” Mr Museveni, 78, said in the same Sunday evening statement.

It’s not clear whether Covidex is one of the drugs Mr Museveni has been using to treat Covid during the period he’s been in self-isolation.
Three months ago, the High Court in Kampala has threw out a request for a judicial review that had sought stop the production of the herbal drug.

The request had also sought to strip Prof Patrick Ogwang of patent and copyrights over the drug and return them to Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST).
In his ruling on March 17, 2023, Justice Musa Ssekaana stated that the applicants, Advocates for People (AFP), and Mr Musa Muhammad Kigongo, were not qualified to file the same.

“The applicants are mere busybodies with lack of expertise to challenge the drug-making process and subjecting the same to challenge in judicial review procedure,” he ruled.

“The applicants, for reasons herein stated, lacked standing or locus standi in this matter and this would render the application incompetent,” Justice Ssekaana ruled.

In July 2021, Kampala-based lawyer George William Alenyo, and Christian Chamber of Commerce, Agriculture, Industry, Trade and Tourism filed a suit in the High Court seeking a permanent injunction against Prof Ogwang from claiming patent or intellectual property rights over Covidex. They claimed he had used government funds and facilities to develop the drug. The case has never been heard.