National Drug Authority conducted a twelve days’ (8th – 23rd April 2021) enforcement operation in Kampala and Wakiso district to ensure that operators of pharmacies and drug shops comply with the National Drug Policy and Authority Act Cap. 206 and Regulations which govern the sale and distribution of medicines.
The operation led to inspection of 787 drug outlets, of which 283 were issued with closure notices and closed. Medicines impounded in the operation comprised of 408 boxes of assorted medicines with estimated value of about UGX 204,000,000. Among outlets inspected also included 45 pharmacies, 645 drug shops (human medicine), 15 veterinary drug shops, 69 clinics were operating illegal pharmacies and illegal drug shops therein. During the operation 6 persons were apprehended for hawking herbal medicines, this follows March 2021 engagement with 95 herbalists based in Kampala at their respective premises to address issues of sale of herbal drugs from make shift structures. Sale and advertising herbal drugs with unverified therapeutic claims and at times adulterated with conventional medicine.
NDA has a duty to ensures that all medicines manufactured in Uganda and those imported into the country are properly handled throughout the distribution supply chain. The ongoing enforcement operations ensure that pharmaceutical operators comply with NDA licensing requirements that govern the sale and distribution of medicines. In the FY 2019/2020, a total of forty-two (42) criminal cases were opened at Police vide various offences and thirty-three (33) convictions were secured over non compliance.
Outlets that were licensed and their licenses withdrawn were due to unsuitable premises, unqualified personnel, and conducting clinical practice in unsuitable premises. Enforcement operations aim at ensuring that licensed persons maintain high quality standards, and apprehend illegal operators. In the year under review twenty two (22) operations were conducted in all districts in the country.
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.
To-date 5,488 boxes of drugs and other medical supplies worth UGX. 2,133,215,000 have been impounded from non-complying or unlicensed outlets. Of the impounded assorted boxes of drugs/medical supplies 171 were labelled “Government of Uganda, NOT FOR SALE” worth UGX. 303,000,000 intended for use in public health facilities. Of the impounded assorted drugs/medical supplies over 60% (3,293) have been returned to pharmacies and drug shops upon complying to NDA licensing requirements. Since the beginning of these operations in March 2019, 101 suspects have been arrested including 9 that were found in possession of drugs/medical supplies labelled Government of Uganda
NDA wishes to inform all operators of drug outlets and the general public, that it has a duty of routinely carrying out surveillance on quality of medicines and other health products in Uganda to ensure that safe and quality medicines are maintained on market. These operations and post market surveillance activities are intended to protect the population from substandard, counterfeit, unauthorized medicines and other health care products.
Strictly buy medicines from outlets licensed by National Drug Authority and take them as prescribed by a qualified health worker. Please also note that taking medicines bought from unlicensed operators or hawkers can expose you to health risks.
NDA extends appreciation to the public, local authorities, Uganda Police Force and the media for their role during the just completed activity. We continue to appeal to the general public to be vigilant and report more of such cases on our toll free line 0800 101 999.
You are further encouraged to continue putting on your mask, washing your hands, practicing social distancing and applying Ministry of Health guidelines, to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
For those that have been vaccinated you are encouraged to report COVID-19 National Drug Authority is monitoring the safety of COVID 19 vaccine. Dial *284*99# or call 0800 101 999 when you experience any reactions.
Your safety is our priority. Safe drugs save lives