Fake pharmacists on the prowl, CS warns

George Kebaso @Morarak

Only six per cent of chemists in Kenya are operated by professional pharmacists. It has also emerged that many pharmacies have been opened across the country raising fears they may be dealing in counterfeit medicines.

Already the Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya (PSK) has reported concerns over rising number of medication complications and errors. Health Cabinet secretary Sicily Kariuki said this is complicating the government’s plans to implement the two pillars of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and manufacturing in the Big Four agenda.

The pharmaceutical industry in the country is experiencing various challenges from procurement; storage, inventory controls, information management to licensing among others.

The CS decried the proliferation of falsified and counterfeited drugs in the market.  However, while much of the drugs gain entry to the country through the porous borders, Kariuki said unscrupulous customs officials play a key part. 

“We want people to get better, but greed by some of us is affecting provision of quality and affordable medicines. This is aided by people who want shortcuts and quick gains,” she said.

The CS said as the government is working on strengthening the regulatory framework, the public should also be vigilant and report any suspicious medicine outlets. PSK President Louis Machogu said the society will release a report on the current medicine situation in Kenya.

He said professionalism in the pharmaceutical industry demands that pharmacies employ trained pharmacists to dispense medicines because at its inception, PSK was established to employ their professional expertise in the care of patients.

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