Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The NDA directive asks hospital bosses not to help private pharmacies renew their licenses
National Drug Authority-NDA has written to managers of government health facilities not to facilitate applications of privately owned pharmacies and drug shops in their facilities for licensing.
This is contained in a circular issued on Monday by Dr. Medard Bitekyerezo, the NDA board chairperson. The circular is addressed to the Executive Directors of National Referral Hospitals, Directors of Regional Referral Hospitals, Superintendents of General Hospitals and In Charges of Health Centers IV, III and IIs.
In the circular, Dr. Bitekyerezo, says it is the unanimous decision of the NDA Commission not to renew the licenses of privately owned pharmacies and drug shops in government health facilities. “We resolved in a commission meeting that NDA will not renew the licenses of privately owned pharmacies or drug shops in government health facilities,” Dr. Bitekyerezo said.
The decision stems from an October 4th, 2019 letter by the Health Minister, Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng asking NDA to respond to President Yoweri Museveni’s directive to the Health Ministry to close private pharmacies in government hospitals saying it encourages theft of government drugs.
Dr. Bitekyerezo had earlier intimated to URN that the authority had been hesitant to issue licenses to private facilities but their hands were tied because of the Memorandums of Understanding-MoUs they had entered with the hospitals.
The NDA decision will affect First Pharmacy and Ecopharm, which operate outlets near Mulago National Referral Hospital and Uganda Cancer Institute respectively. Idi Iwumbwe, the Managing Director Ecopharm declined to comment.
“At this moment, we really do not have anything to say. For more details you should speak to the Executive Director of Mulago,” Iwumbwe said. The Mulago Hospital Executive Director, Dr. Baterana Byarugaba, said they are going to enforce the directive.
“We have heard of NDA’s decision and we are going to handle it accordingly,” Dr. Byarugaba. He however, declined to elaborate how the hospital will handle the matter. The NDA directive takes effect immediately.