NDA moves to close unlicensed drug outlets

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National Drug Authority published new licensing guidelines for 2018 which raised concerns from some stakeholders that were published in the media.

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 authority said.

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.

To address the mal-distribution of pharmacies and improve pharmaceutical service delivery, NDA will license new pharmacies in private hospitals in Kampala.

Existing drug outlets are being encouraged to move to high density underserved areas in Kampala district like Kasokoso, Makerere Kivulu among others and other underserved areas country wide.

Any outlet that has not been licensed in January 2018 will be asked to close and enforcement action will follow.

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.

The tick resistance which has been confirmed through the scientific studies 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 authority said 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.

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

Fake drugs on the market

The problem of substandard and falsified medicines circulating on the market that is commonly reported is not unique to Uganda but rather a global problem which has to be constantly addressed.

However, there are also frequent cases of alarmist and misleading media reports which have no basis in fact, or represent uninformed opinions.

NDA has established quality assurance measures against substandard and falsified drugs on the market.

The Authority continues to appeal to the public to report any problems with drugs on the market through social media or other available means.

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 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.