By Gad Masereka
The National Drug Authority has closed more than 300 drug shops that do not meet the requirements set by the ministry of health.
In the operation conducted by the ministry of health, Kampala and Wakiso districts were affected most, whereby many of the operating unlicensed drug shops and those that had unqualified medical operators were closed.
Some of the areas where the oparation took place include; Naalya, Nkumba, Kasenyi, Ndejje, Busabala, Zzana, Mutundwe, Katabi, Namulanda, Kawuku, Bwerenga Bukasa, Najjera, Kiwatule, Buwate, Kitto, Mbalwa, Nakiwogo Kireka, Kamuli, Kinawataka, and Kirinya.
According to a report from the ministry of health, over 412 boxes of assoretd drugs estimated at Shs270m were confiscated.
The operation also was aimed at arresting medical personel who sell outdated and expired drugs which are poisonous to human life.
“The objective of this operation is to save the public from unlicensed and unqualified personnel handling human and veterinary medicines. These illegal entities are potential dispensers of fake or expired drugs because they do not subscribe to professional standards. These are the people who are involved in the illegal trade of drugs meant for public health facilities; denying citizens of their entitlements,” said Jennifer Aujo, the acting general Manager of NDA central region.
During the operation, the officials arrested two people who were found operating drug shops without qualifications.
“We have impounded drugs from unlicensed outlets, premises that have been found unsuitable for storing drugs have been closed and unscrupulous operators arrested. The suspects will be prosecuted in court,” Aujo noted
Among the impounded drugs were government drugs labeled Government of Uganda Not For Sale.
Fredrick Ssekyana, the NDA Public Relations Officer, noted that the medicines in the hands of unqualified persons expose the population to wrong prescriptions, drug resistance, income losses and other health-related risks, including death.
It was also discovered that some drug shops conduct clinical services of admission, injection contrary to the license granted.
All drug shops operate under class C and are not allowed to conduct injections and admission of patients but most drug shops located in Kasenyi werefound doing this, moreover with unqualified personnel injecting patients.
David Nahamya, the secretary to the NDA, noted that “During the operation, our officers faced challenges like absence of in-charges of drug shops, because most owners leave the business to be operated by unqualified personnel. Most people were conducting business without NDA granting them permission to operate.”
He added that “The public should be at the forefront in this fight since they are the ones at risk.”
He said that even pharmacies are supposed to be operated by professionals who must be registered with the professionals council.