Imported medical equipment, food supplements, medical cosmetics and herbal products will be inspected under new guidelines issued by the the Kenya Bureau of Standards and Pharmacy and Poisons Board.
The rules are contained in the Pre-Export Verification of Conformity (PVoC) to Standards programme.
According to Kebs Managing Director Charles Ongwae, the guidelines that took effect on September 1 were aimed at protecting Kenyans against imported pharmaceutical products that did not comply with local quality standards and technical regulations.
“As the regulatory agency mandated to oversee and enforce standards compliance, we are determined to ensure that the public is protected from possible influx of substandard pharmaceutical products,” Mr Ongwae said.
“The effort by the two organisations is aimed at expanding the capacity and scope of the PVoC programme, which inspects goods at the country of origin before they arrive in Kenya.”
PVoC is an assessment procedure applied at the country of supply on certain products to ascertain their compliance with applicable Kenyan standards or approved specifications before shipment.
Mr Ongwae said the programme aimed at providing cost-effective implementation of national standards that were in harmony with modernised schemes undertaken by other stakeholders, including Kenya Revenue Authority and Kenya Ports Authority.
PPB is the national drugs regulatory authority.
In a notice issued by the two agencies, the importers of the mentioned products must obtain a certificate of conformity for their cargo before applying for permits from the poisons board through the Kenya National Single Window Electronic (Kentrade) System.
Goods arriving at the port of entry without the certificate would be subjected to destination inspection by Kebs.
Pharmaceutical manufacturers licensed by the poisons board importing raw materials, machinery and spares for own use would, however be exempted from the requirements.
The exemption is due to the fact that they would have met the conditions in order for them to obtain licences.
Only the Trade Minister can grant exemptions.
Importers may however raise a security bond of 15 per cent of the cost of insurance and freight value of the goods, which would be redeemed upon the goods being tested and found compliant with standards.