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NDA Doubles Down on ‘Fake’ Drugs Fight; Speaks on ‘Unfounded’ Reports

In a January 9 statement, the National Drug Authority (NDA) has clarified on why in 2018; new measures were introduced to regulate people dealing in drugs, which guidelines have recently spurred mixed reactions among the stakeholders.

According to NDA, the objective of developing the new guidelines is to address the equitable distribution of drug outlets in Kampala in order to improve access to pharmaceutical products in the City.

The current population estimates for Kampala City is 1,516,210 as per the population census of 2014 against the total licensed pharmacies in 2017 of 478 which translates to a pharmacist to population ratio of 1; 3,172.

The computed ratio implies that Kampala is well served even in comparison to countries for example the UK which recommends  a ratio of pharmacist to population of 1;5000.

According to the NDA statement, to deal with mal-distribution of pharmacies and improve pharmaceutical service delivery, new pharmacies in private hospitals in Kampala will be licensed.

The Authority is also trying to encourage existing drug outlets “to move to high density underserved areas in Kampala district like Kasokoso, Makerere Kivulu among others and other underserved areas country wide.�

Additionally, the Authority says, any outlet that has not been licensed in January 2018 will be asked to close and enforcement action will follow, and “no new drug shops will be licensed in Kampala and other municipalities since there are pharmacies already sufficiently serving the population.�

Managing Tick Resistance in the Cattle Corridor   

There has been a public outcry that ticks in western and central Uganda cattle corridor districts are not responding to almost all the twenty six (26) acaricides on the Ugandan market, while the same drugs are still killing ticks in the northern and eastern districts of Uganda.

According to  NDA, after doing scientific studies, they have discovered that the tick resistance “has been caused by; irrational use of acaricides, whereby there has been prolonged use of same type of acaricides, use of poor firm implements to spray and dip cattle, and not following the manufacturers’ direction on the use of acaricides.�

The statement adds, “Allegations in the media that the market is flooded with “fake drugs� are unfounded and the laboratory investigations conducted by the Authority on acaricide samples picked from the port of entry and from the market in 2017 indicated 92% passed the quality tests and only 8% failed.�

To respond to the challenges of Tick resistance, NDA is doing the following:

  1. Facilitating the importation of one new acaricide molecule namely Eprinomectin for immediate emergency tick cleansing with concurrent acaricide performance studies for the first six months of the resistant ticks cleansing campaign.
  2. NDA has authorized the importation of six thousand (6000) litres of vectoclor and six hundred (600) liters of Bantik for cattle cleansing. In addition, NDA has been approving the importation of the East Coast Fever (ECF) vaccine called the Muguga cocktail vaccine.
  3. Collaborating with the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industries and Fisheries (MAAIF), Local governments, academic and research Institutions to implement all the agreed actions.

Fake Drugs on the Market

There has also been an issue of substandard and falsified medicines circulating on the market, and to solve that NDA has established quality assurance measures against substandard and falsified drugs on the market.

These include; Good manufacturing practice (GMP) inspections of the factories which produce human and veterinary drugs, physical inspection of all consignments received at the designated ports of entry, laboratory testing of medicines samples picked from health facilities, pharmacies and drug shops.

Another one is enforcement activities aimed at apprehending unscrupulous traders who are dealing in “fake drugs�

Import and Export Of Drugs Control

Prior to entry of drugs into the country, inspections are carried out at the ports of entry these include; Nakawa, Busia, Malaba and Entebbe international airport.

The Authority has embarked on the recruitment drive that has seen the number of personnel manning the ports of entry increase tremendously.

For instance, according to the statement, NDA now maintains a 24/7 import verification team at Entebbe Airport.

In addition, NDA continues to collaborate with other government agencies such as URA and Uganda Police in order to curb cases of smuggling of medicines.

NDA Regional Presence

National Drug Authority issued 1,752 licenses to pharmacy businesses across the country in 2017 and licensed over 8,000 Drug shops.

In an effort to improve the availability, and accessibility of drugs, the Authority has increased the number of staff per region in its seven regions across the country namely; Central Region-Nakawa, West Nile Region-Arua, Western Region-Hoima, Northern Region-Lira, South Eastern Region-Jinja, South Western Region-Mbarara and Eastern Region-Tororo.

Use of Information Communication Technology (Ict) For Effective Regulatation

NDA has introduced an online NDA Management Information System (NDAMIS) with support from Trademark East Africa under the umbrella of East African Community (EAC) which allows clients to easily access the NDA services on Importation of medicine, licensing of drug outlets and registration of medicines among others. NDA is also working with other government agencies to embrace the electronic single window system which the Government of Uganda has adopted to facilitate trade.

Public Reporting of Drug Side Effects

Given that the majority of Ugandans seek healthcare from private health facilities including pharmacies and drug shops, the Authority has asked to report all cases of fake drugs on the market.

“We appeal to the public to be aware that when serious drug side effects occur from medicines obtained from the Private pharmacies and drug shops, they should report the cases to the nearest health worker or directly to NDA,� ends the statement.

This post was syndicated from ChimpReports. Click here to read the full text on the original website.

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