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By Joel Mugabi

Medicines regulator National Drugs Authority (NDA) has impounded drugs worth Shs163.5m in the Northern Uganda regions of Lango, Acholi and Karamoja.

NDA has been conducting operations aimed at cracking down on unauthorized and unqualified pharmacists as well as ridding the region of medicines, drug shops and pharmacies that could put their lives in danger.

The routine surveillance exercise happened in 17 Northern Uganda districts, including Abim, Agago, Alebtong, Amolatar, Amuru, Apac, Dokolo, Gulu, Kitgum, Kole, Kwania and Lamwo. The operations were also conducted in Lira, Nwoya, Omoro, Otuke, Oyam and Pader.

During the operation, 763 drug outlets were inspected. These included two pharmacies, 711 human, 25 veterinary drug shops, and 25 clinics. NDA impounded 545 boxes of assorted drugs estimated at Shs163.5m from 349 non-compliant outlets.

Some of the drugs NDA impounded included those clearly labeled ‘Government Of Uganda, Not For Sale’ such as Lumarterm, Artemether/Lumefantrine, HIV RDT kits, and Determine HIV from Gen Rwoth Drug Shop in Apaa, Amuru District. Unregistered Medicines (Kifaro) smuggled from Kenya were also impounded from Ave Maria Drug Shop in Otuke district.

“NDA advises all operators whose drug outlets have been closed and whose drugs have been impounded to report to NDA Regional offices in Lira for guidance on compliance requirements to avoid inconvenience. NDA thanks those outlets that are compliant and encourages them to keep up the spirit up,” said the medicines regulator in a statement.

“NDA appeals to the public to be vigilant and report any drug outlets that do not comply with standards on our toll free line 0800 101 999. We thank the public, local authorities, Uganda Police Force and the media for their tremendous support during this just completed enforcement operation.”

In the FY 2020/21, NDA registered increased compliance levels to licensing guidelines.  The number of licensed pharmacies increased by 549 (23.2 per cent) and drug shops by 2,667 (22 per cent). The regulator says this was due to better regulatory interventions like increased and regular presence on the ground, compliance visits and approaches, enforcement operations, and awareness programs.

“This is also due to easing licensing issuance to cover a period of three years, and provision of regulatory decision for new applicants within 25 days. In this region these interventions have led to 5 drug shops upgrading into pharmacies,” noted Samuel Kyamukama, the Head of Enforcement at NDA. (For comments on this story, call, text or whatsapp us on 0705579994, 0779411734, 0200900416 or email us at





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