Kenyans Cannot Trust Their Pharmacies

17 10 2013

Usually, when you go to the pharmacy or doctor, you really don’t need to question (well you should) their legitimacy. Most Kenyans don’t really have that luxury. According to the Pharmacy and Poisons Board of Kenya, 30 per cent of drugs sold in the country last year were fake or counterfeit, accounting for a loss of more than Sh10 billion (103 million USD).

The Board urges Kenyans to “Buy only from registered pharmacies and chemists to ensure quality, safe and efficacious medicines,” said Dr Kipkerich Koskei, the registrar at PPBK. Also it is said that the country had more than 6,000 pharmacists with only 1,500 certified by the Pharmacy and Poisons Board to practice. The Board is taking action against those illegal outlets, but most of the outlets are concentrated in slums like Kibera, Mathare, and Nakuru. Their officers cannot reach those places.

The draft amendments to the Pharmacy and Poisons Board Act will also see unlicenced and unregistered pharmacies attract a fine of Sh500,000. The current maximum fine is Sh50,000. Pharmacies and pharmaceutical technologists that don’t prominently display their certificate of registration and annual licences in their pharmacies will be fined Sh200,000 up from Sh20,000. According to the amendments, a person who sells any counterfeit, illegally imported or unregistered pharmaceutical substances and medicinal devices will be fined Sh1 million or serve a maximum of 10 years in prison or both.

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