Kericho Governor Erick Mutai was shocked when he found the county hospital's pharmacy had only amoxicillin, children's cough syrup and panadol in stock.
Dr Mutai had made an impromptu visit to the hospital on Wednesday morning when he made the discovery.
"It's a very unfortunate situation since most of the patients who seek treatment at the health facility expect the pharmacy to be well stocked only to be asked to buy drugs in private chemists," he said.
He blamed the drug shortage on theft by cartels within the procurement department. He ordered County Chief Officer Dr David Ekuwam to reshuffle staff in the department.
"Drugs are procured and then without the knowledge of the hospital authorities, the medicine and non-pharmaceuticals are sold to private chemists in Kericho town and other trading centres," he claimed.
Mutai warned owners of private pharmacies who will be found with stolen drugs that stern action will be taken against them.
He ordered County Chief Pharmacist Dr Emanuel Korir to prepare a report on the shortage.
"We want to understand the situation so that we can resolve the issues objectively and maturely," he said.
The governor ordered County Director of Medical Services Dr Betty Langat to ensure that the pharmacy is restocked with all the essential medicine within three days.