Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The National Drug Authority- NDA has closed down more than 600 drug outlets over illegal operations.
Dr. James Tamale who heads regions at the NDA says that apart from operating without licenses and being run by unqualified individuals, many of the medicines that they impounded were found stored inappropriately. He said the spot check operations concluded in January were carried all through the eight regions where the authority operates and drugs worth 300 Million Shillings were confiscated.
He says NDA has now embarked on a mass sensitization campaign to take the people through what is required to be licensed and its relevance owing to an increasing number of people who opt to take corners when asked to register their businesses.
However, it should be noted that for most of 2020, the authority couldn’t do all the scheduled inspection operations due to the coronavirus pandemic that restricted movement and contact with people.
According to Dr David Nahamya, the Secretary to the authority, though they encountered challenges in inspection they managed to register more drug outlets, especially in upcountry districts.
He says they came up with a policy on equitable distribution which eased licensing of facilities since licensing fees were slashed and distance restrictions eased. Currently, 57% of the licensed facilities are located in rural areas.
NDA licensing guidelines stipulate that any drug shop located at a distance less than one and a half kilometers from a retail pharmacy should either be registered as a pharmacy and fulfil all the requirements or relocate to other under-served areas after obtaining authorization from NDA.
This guideline wasn’t enforced for rural businesses in the operations.
Licensing fees for pharmacies and drug shops vary with the location for instance if one is setting up a wholesale pharmacy in an urban area or town, they will be required to part with Shs1.5million and Shs1.1million for retail one.
When it comes to drug shops, licensing fees to range from 100,000 and 170, 000 Shillings a year.