Kenyans cautioned against purchasing medicine from hawkers

NAIROBI: Kenyans should only buy drugs from certified health facilities, Kenya Pharmacy and Poisons Board has said.

In a statement sent to newsrooms, the board said that the Kenyan public should not purchase medicine from street vendors because the quality of the goods may be compromised and some operate without licences.

"The Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB) hereby cautions the public against unscrupulous vendors hawking medicines outside registered premises in open market places, bus stops and in public vehicles," the notice partly reads.

According to the board, the practice of selling drugs in the open market does not only affect the general effectiveness of drugs by exposing them to extreme temperatures that make them expire early, but also provide avenue for drug counterfeiters to market their dangerous products to an unsuspecting public.

The PPB inspectorate and surveillance teams are on the ground in all regions to ensure compliance and those found contravening the law will be arrested and prosecuted.

In May, Three organisations formed an alliance to fight proliferation of counterfeit malaria drugs in Kenya. The partnership between Kenya-based Mission for Essential Drugs and Supplies (MEDS), PPB and the US Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) was aimed at improving access to quality and safe anti-malarial medicines.

Under the USAID-funded "Promoting the Quality of Medicines (PQM) programme" implemented by USP, the organisations promised to ensure safety of all marketed medical products.

"This initiative will help in addressing the root problem of proliferation of fake and substandard medicines in Kenya," said Jane Masiga, MEDS Head of Operations.

Dr Masiga said over 100 samples of anti-malarial drugs from health facilities across the country were to be tested to identify counterfeits and other substandard medicines in circulation.

Samples of the drugs were to be analysed at the MEDS World Health Organisation prequalified Quality Control Laboratory. By then, the lab analysed more than 100 drug samples from manufacturers, distributors and researchers in Kenya and also from over 15 African countries every month.

Kenya Pharmacy and Poisons BoardJane Masigamalaria