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Vet associations slam pharmacists for opposing Kenya Drugs Authority Bill

Kenya Veterinary Association personnel fix the button-like device on the cows at Al Leboi village. Veterinary associations have united against PSK defending public health and animal welfare. [Kibata Kihu, Standard]

Six veterinary associations have accused the Kenya Pharmaceutical Society (PSK) of spreading false information and endangering public health by opposing the Kenya Drugs Authority (KDA) Bill.

In a joint statement issued on Sunday, October 22, the Kenya Veterinary Association (KVA), the Union of Veterinary Practitioners Kenya (UVPK), and the Kenya Animal Science Practitioners Association (KASPA), the Animal Health Technicians Technologists Association (AHTTAK), the Kenya Veterinary Paraprofessionals Association (KVPA) and the African Veterinary Technicians Association (AVTA), denounced PSK's stance on the proposed amendments to the KDA Bill.

According to them, PSK was trying to sabotage the regulation of veterinary medicines in Kenya, which is currently done by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) under the Veterinary Surgeons Veterinary Paraprofessionals Act (VSVP) Regulations 2015.

"PSK took to social media platforms and news media opposing the amendments to the KDA Bill. The PSK's objections to the KDA Bill amendments are misleading, amount to disinformation, are provocative and create unwarranted apprehension," the statement read.

The vet associations argued that the VMD is a competent and recognised National Regulatory Authority (NRA) for veterinary medicines under the East African Community Mutual Recognition Procedure (EAC-MRP), which allows for joint evaluations and inspections of manufacturing facilities.

They also warned that giving in to PSK's demand would expose the public to unsafe foods of animal origin, as pharmacists do not have the capacity and competency to ensure food safety.

"Granting PSK their wish will make Kenya non-compliant with the Terrestrial and Aquatic Animal Health Codes of the World Organisation of Animal Health (WOAH) enforced under the World Trade Organisation Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures," they added.

They urged pharmacists to focus on enhancing the regulation of human medicines, which are a major contributor to antimicrobial resistance, instead of interfering with veterinary medicines.

The associations further pointed out that the KDA Bill is not implementing a provision of a known policy, as no public policy precedes it.

They said that the Food and Feed Safety Control Coordination Bill will address the coordination of safety of food for humans, and that PSK should embrace the One Health Concept and seek collaboration with their veterinary counterparts instead of pursuing selfish interests that will not benefit the public.

The associations noted veterinary products are best regulated under the Ministry responsible for animal disease control as recommended by WOAH.

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