Dr Medard Bitekyerezo, a specialist physician and former Member of Parliament, after being sworn in as the chairman of National Drug Authority (NDA) has said, among his first tasks is to close all pharmacies that operate without full time pharmacists.
Dr. Medard Bitekyerezo said that the pharmacy business has been taken up by mere traders other than qualified pharmacists which has increased the selling of counterfeit and expired drugs on the market.
In Uganda every pharmacy must have a drug license and this license is obtained from the National drug authority and renewed every year. The pharmacy can be owned by individuals, partnerships or body corporate. The Individual must hold a pharmacist license and be a Uganda resident while with partnership or body corporate, one partner or director must be a pharmacist and Uganda resident.
“Because traders have money, they have decided to use qualified pharmacists’ certificates to run their pharmacies without the pharmacists regularly and physically supervising the pharmacies and they pay them big sums of money.
This then gives chance to the traders to repackage the expired drugs and sell them to the public because their business is to make money but don’t have concern for health like the pharmacists, which brings about health problems” Bitekyerezo said.
He said that he is going to promote licensing of competent pharmacies that are regularly supervised by qualified pharmacists but not mere traders and any pharmacy that is found without a full time pharmacist will be closed.
Bitekyerezo said that he is also going to promote the importation of highly efficacious drugs at affording able prices from excellent quality drug manufacturers and vigilance in drug inspection by active, competent and highly professional inspectors in all regions around the country in order to curb counterfeit drugs coming into the country.
The Minister of Health, Dr Ruth Aceng, while officiating at the inauguration said that by June this year the National Food and Medicine Authority Bill 2017 will be put into law in order to regulate counterfeit drugs entering and going out of the country.
The nine man NDA board that includes Bitekyerezo as chairman, Dr. Ambrose Musinguzi, Dr. Grace Nambatya Kyeyune, Grace Akullo, Dr. Mahamed Mbabali, Dr. Yahaya Sekagya, Dr. Christine Ondoa as members among others was sworn in by the registrar of the High Court, Thadeo Asiimwe.