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NDA closes 249 drug outlets in Western region

Drug outlets closed were trading in expired drugs and involved in relabeling, packaging of medicines

Kabarole, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The National Drug Authority (NDA) has closed at least 249 drug outlets in Western Uganda.

The outlets were closed during an enforcement operation that started on April 26, 2021, and ended on May 7, 2021.  It covered 20 districts including Mubende, Mityana, Kasanda, Kakumiro, Kibaale, Kagadi, Kyegegwa, Kyenjojo, Kabarole, Ntoroko, Bundibugyo, Bunyangabo, Masindi, Kiryandongo, Kikuube and Hoima city.

During the operation, NDA officials inspected 779 drug outlets including 38 clinics, 6 pharmacies, 33 veterinary drug outlets and 702 human drug shops. A total of 297 boxes of assorted medicine estimated at Shillings 59 million were impounded.

Addressing the press while at their Western regional offices in Hoima city on Friday, Samuel Kyomukama, the Head of Enforcement at National Drug Authority says four people were arrested during the operation in the entire region.

He identifies the suspects as Lawrence Ssebuma and Vicent Kibule who were arrested from Mubende district after they were found hawking drugs and publishing an unauthorized advertisement which is contrary to section 33(1) and 60 (2) of NDP/A Act Cap 206.

The duo was also found carrying out business of a pharmacist without a license which is contrary to section 14(3) of NDP/A Act Cap 206.

The other suspects are Emmanuel Okello of Ddungu drug shop in Katulikire, Kiryandongo district who was arrested after he assaulted a police officer attached to the NDA and also obstructed an officer attached to NDA from carrying out their duties, while the fourth suspect is Hamuza Mugenyi from Hoima town who was arrested after he presented forged certificates to NDA officials.

The suspects were reportedly handed over to Hoima, Mubende and Kiryandongo police stations for action to be taken against them.

Some of the outlets were trading in expired drugs and others were involved in relabeling, packaging while some were being operated by unqualified personnel. Large quantities of medicines labeled “Government of Uganda Not for sale” intended for use in public health facilities were also recovered from several drug outlets during the operations;” said Kyomukama.

Kyomukama says, the operations and post market surveillance activities are aimed at protecting the population from consuming substandard, counterfeit and unauthorized medicines and other health care products.

Dr. Lawrence Tumusiime, the Hoima District Health Officer- DHO tasked the people in the sub region to strictly buy medicines from outlets that are licensed by the National Drugs Authority and take them as prescribed by a qualified health worker. He warns that taking medicines bought from unlicensed operators expose people to health risks.

Dr. Christopher Luzinda, NDA Manager for Western region says they will continue with massive sensitization to ensure that the population gets treatment from qualified health personnel.

He further explains that it is their duty to routinely carry out surveillance on quality of medicines and other health products across the whole country to ensure that safe and quality medicines are maintained on the market.

In November 2019, National Drug Authority officials conducted similar operations in the region and they were able to close 183 drug outlets after inspecting 538 drug outlets.

During the operations, they managed to impound 342 boxes of assorted medicines estimated at shillings 119.7 million.

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