NDA closes 70 illegal drug outlets in Rwenzori

FORT PORTAL – The National Drug Authority [NDA] has closed 70 drug outlets in Rwenzori Sub-region for operating illegally and impounded 140 boxes of assorted medicines worth Shs 40 million.

The NDA head of enforcement, Samuel Kyomukama said they closed the illegal drug outlets as they carried out a one-week compliance operation in seven districts of Bunyangabu, Bundibugyo, Ntoroko, Fort Portal City, Kyenjojo, Kyegegwa, and Kabarole.

He said the operation was is in line with NDA’s mandate to protect and promote human and animal health through the effective regulation of drugs and healthcare products.

“NDA informs the operators of outlets whose drugs were impounded to visit our regional office in Hoima to be guided on how to comply in order to receive their drugs and reminds all drug operators that the licensing renewal for the year 2023 commenced in November last year,” he said.

Kyomukama warned those still operating without licenses or with unqualified personnel to halt until they fulfill the licensing requirements.

“I appeal to the general public to always buy drugs only from pharmacies and drug shops. Remain vigilant and report anyone suspected to get involved in drug crimes,” he said.

The regional head of inspection, Dr. Chris Luzinda said some of the impounded drugs were smuggled into the country and others were meant to be in the public health centres.

“There are drugs which are smuggled into the country which is illegal. Some drugs which are supposed to be in public health facilities at a free cost were found being sold in these private drug outlets, which is also illegal,” he said.

Luzinda said several operators were warned and said over the past years the authority has been carrying out sensitization but operators have failed to comply.

He however noted that the challenge is now reducing as compared to the past years.

Brian Kisembo, from Kabarole district health office said the district has over 200 licensed drug shops, urging residents to be cautious when buying the medicines.

Kisembo said much as they have sensitised the drug dealers on compliance guidelines, they have remained adamant.

The NDA public relations manager, Abiaz Rwamwiru appealed to the public to stop buying herbal medicine from the streets and hawkers.

“We have identified over 200 herbal medicines that are not harmful and are ready to be consumed. I appeal to the public to buy these medicines from pharmacies and drug shops which are licensed by NDA. Your health is our priority,” Rwamwiru said.

He revealed that the authority is in partnership with Tooro Kingdom to ensure they train herbalists on drug safety and compliance before they can be sold on the local market.

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