Saturday, 24 November 2018


The National Pharmaceutical Company has raised a red flag over flagrant diversion of drugs from public health institution to private pharmacies where they are being sold at high prices or in foreign currency.

The Sunday Mail has gathered that some medical institutions are raising orders of medicines from NatPham as soon as they take delivery of a consignment, indicating they are requesting more than they normally need.

It is understood that some wholesalers are procuring the drugs using RTGS payments and then selling to the public in United States dollars.

NatPharm is the State drug procurement, warehousing and distribution entity under the Health and Child Care Ministry.

NatPharm MD Mrs Florah Sifeku said the drug supply system was being abused to rip off the public.

She also said the company would soon draw down from a $60 million Government facility to procure 100 tonnes of medicines from India, and measures would be put in place to close loopholes in the drug supply system.

“The $60 million coming from Government is meant to procure drugs of equivalent value from India to provide vital and essential drugs in the public health system.

“We note with concern cases where we are delivering medicines to our clinics, but when you go to the same institution a day after, you are referred elsewhere.
“The medicines supplied by NatPharm to relieve the drug shortages are somehow finding their way to the black market and private sector, depriving the public sector of medicines.

“With what is going on, we fear that these drugs will be hoarded and will find their way to the private sector, disadvantaging thousands of patients and sabotaging Government efforts to ensure availability of affordable medicines,” Mrs Sifeku said.

NatPharm finance director Mr Rolland Mlalazi added: “Accountability is difficult as there are many drug outlets throughout the country and this makes problematic to monitor their disbursements.” Sunday Mail


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