Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Two private pharmacies that have been operating in Mulago National Referral hospital have been evicted following a directive by Health Minister, Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng to the National Drug Authority (NDA).
On Friday, the Health Minister directed NDA to close all private facilities operating within public health facilities. Abiaz Rwamiri, the NDA Public Relations Officer, says that First Pharmacy vacated shortly after the directive was issued while Ecopharm left on Saturday evening.
He says that other pharmacies in government hospitals across the country will be closed too. Apparently, the private pharmacies in Mbarara, Kawempe and Hoima Regional Referral hospitals are still open.
With concerns of ripping off needy patients and allegations of doctors acting as brokers for private drug sellers in the hospital, President, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni ordered their closure in September 2019.
However, NDA didn’t enforce the directive until last month when he made a new directive about the same. This development comes amidst embezzlement and mismanagement investigations against Dr. Byarugaba Baterana, the executive Director of Mulago National Referral Hospital.
He is among others accused of poorly executing MOUs with the two private pharmacies causing financial loss to the national referral hospital. The two pharmacies have been operating since 2018 without licenses from NDA, according to the Board Chairman, Dr Merdad Bitekyerezo.
According to a dossier by the Health Monitoring Unit seen by URN, Ecopharm alone had defaulted up to Shillings135million in rent by November 2021 while First pharmacy had defaulted Shillings 67.5million.