By A Correspondent- Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care earlier this year went on a fact-finding mission at the country’s largest drug company and discovered that NatPham was stocking millions of expired drugs amid a serious drug shortage ravaging the country.
The committee also reports that capitalisation issues have not yet been attended to by NatPham.
The report released by the committee after the fact-finding mission reads in part:
“Five years later, the newly constituted Committee on Health and Child Care undertook a familiarisation visit to NatPharm on the 12th of February 2019. The Committee’s findings were disheartening in that NatPharm was still dogged by the above-mentioned problems. It still had huge piles of expired medicines and drugs in its warehouse and issues of its capitalisation have not yet been attended to.
The majority of our population cannot afford medicines from the private pharmacies and rely predominantly on the public sector. Hence, the Committee proposed that the public health institutions be well stocked with medicines to improve on accessibility and affordability of the products to the general population
Unfortunately, the current state of equipment and manufacturing processes has affected their ( phamacetical companies) ability to produce vital drugs and medicines in the country. At the time of the enquiry, capacity utilisation of the industry was, on average running below 40 percent primarily due to inadequate foreign currency allocations.2
It was also reported that drugs are also expiring at rural district hospitals as effective redistribution channels are yet to be established.
The committee, however, is strongly against a proposal by NatPham to set up retail pharmacies across the country at a time where public health institutions have no medicines.-StateMedia