National Drug Authority conducted a five days (27th -31st May 2019) enforcement operation in the Northern Region to clear it of unlicensed drug shops supervised by unqualified personnel.
The operation held in 16 districts led to inspection of 486 drug outlets, of which 270 were issued with closure notices and closed. Medicines impounded in the entire operation comprised of 312 boxes of assorted medicine estimated at Ushs. 109,200,000. It is important to note that in the entire operation we visited 8 veterinary drug shops, signifying the operators’ interest dealing in human medicine.
The Districts where the operation was conducted included Gulu, Pader, Kitgum, Nwoya, Lamwo, Agago, Omoro, Kole, Kwania, Apac, Oyam, Amolatar, Lira, Dokolo, Alebtong, and Otuke.
There were 4 arrests made during the operation. These included:
Okello Sambo, who was hawking veterinary medicines in Mitacho Market, Oyam
Patrick Kilama who was found with Government of Uganda Drugs was charged vide Agago CPS SD/REF:27/28/05/2019
Opio Daniel and Nancy Ajok were arrested charged of Possession of Government stores vide CPS Kwania SD/ref: 25/29/05/2019.
Anyang N. who was found in possession of Government drugs was arrested vide CPS Oyam SD/ref: 23/29/05/2019.
All are in custody at pending prosecution.
During the operation we discovered malaria rapid test kits labeled “Government of Uganda”. The pilferage compromises the quality of health service delivery and patients in dire need of medicines hence discrediting government programmes.
The objectives of this operation is to save the public from unlicensed and unqualified personnel handling human and veterinary medicines, crack down on dealers in substandard, and counterfeit medicines, and dealers in medicines intended for public health facilities, and crack down on hawkers of drugs.
Medicines in the hands of unqualified persons and stored in unsuitable conditions expose the population in the region and the entire country to wrong prescription, drug resistance, income, and other health related risks or complications including death.
This cumulatively brings a total of 945 drug outlets visited since the beginning of the NDA operations in March 2019, including other regions, leading to closure of 454, impounding 764 boxes of assorted medicines, estimated at Ush. 294,500,000 and effecting 32 arrests.
During the operations in all regions covered, veterinary outlets inspected were 58, and impounding 121 boxes of assorted medicines estimated at Ushs.70,200,000.
Challenges experienced in the districts in the course of doing our work.
Absence of in-charges of drug shops leaving the businesses to be operated by unqualified personnel.
Unsuitable premises which compromise the quality of medicines.
Operators effecting payment without filling in licensing forms and submitting them to NDA to grant them permission to operate.
Drug shops conducting clinical work such as admitting and injecting patients.
We appeal to the general public to be vigilant and report more of such cases on our toll free lines 0800 101 999. Safe drugs save lives