Pharmacists Nabbed With Banned, Expired Drugs

some of the counterfeit drugs
some of the counterfeit drugs

Drug Inspectors from the National Drug Authority (NDA) say that some pharmacies are still selling products from the banned Indian Pharmaceutical firm, Flamingo.Drug Inspectors from the National Drug Authority (NDA) say that some pharmacies are still selling products from the banned Indian Pharmaceutical firm, Flamingo.Tamale Robert, the Director of C K I Pharmacy located along Luwum Street in Kampala, was on Thursday found with Rifampicin, an anti biotic and Falcidin an anti malarial drug, and both are products of Flamingo.The drug Inspectors led by Nasser Mbazira, the regional Inspector Central region had early this week found Namulindwa Saidat, a pharmacy owner in Kalerwe selling the same banned drugs.In the operations to mark 20 years of NDA, Mbazira used Namulindwa, whose pharmacy has now been shut down, to get to Tamale from whom she purchased the drugs from.During the operation, Tamale outrightly denied the drugs claiming a patient only known as Geoffrey, who was using it as part of his drug combinations to treat Brucelosis, had gotten better and decided to sell the remaining drugs.Brucelosis is a contagious zoonotic disease spread through consumption of milk and meat from infected animals or being in contact with their secretions.

With a continuous search into Tamale’s pharmacy, the Inspectors found a pack with six boxes of Rifampicin and other expired drugs from October 2012.Tamale then confessed that he was still selling the banned drugs which are smuggled from Kenya and transported by bus. This is despite knowing that the drug had been banned from the local market, adding that he smuggled them because they were cheaper coming from Kenya.Tamale was asked to close the pharmacy, take down his trading license and write a closure letter which was dropped at the Nakawa NDA offices. He then disclosed to the inspectors that the racket that smuggles banned and illegal drugs is much bigger than they think.Tamale was driven and taken off to Wandegeya police station, though the police there said he should be moved to Central Police station after which he will be taken to court.The NDA has been carrying out a week-long operation in different parts of the country focusing on all drug outlets to establish their licensing status, qualifications of personnel staff, registration status and quality of drugs. In September last year the Drug Authority suspended and de-registered 67 types of drugs produced by Flamingo Pharmaceuticals. It was noted that the standard of drugs from the factory had started deteriorating in 2009.

Abacus, the local distributors of Flamingo Pharmaceutical products since 1997, were then ordered to recall and collect all the drugs and re-export them back to Mumbai for destruction.The recall followed complaints from National Medical Stores, Uganda Cancer Institute, Mulago and Soroti referral hospitals amongst other stakeholders.

In May last year, The Lancet, a leading medical journal released a report indicating that one third of all the antimalarial drugs used worldwide are counterfeit, as the disease continues to kill at least one million people every year. The report points out poor-quality drugs as “an immediate and urgent threat in health facilities, pharmacies, grocery stores, and homes.”The findings suggest that up to one third of drugs collected from 21 countries in Sub Saharan Africa failed chemical analysis, while 36% of antimalarial drugs collected in Southeast Asia were falsified.This, according to the report, exposes patients, health-care workers, and governments to increases in morbidity, mortality, economic losses, and drug resistance..

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