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Board steps up fight against substandard drugs

The Pharmacy and Poisons Board has organised its first pharmaceutical regulatory compliance conference in Kenya.

The two day conference whose theme is “Compliance best practice for the pharma and medical devices industry,” was opened on Tuesday by the Director of Medical Services Jackson Kioko, on behalf of the Health cabinet secretary.

Aimed at building collaboration and advancing the practice of pharmacy for the promotion of health, the conference brought together stakeholders from the Government agencies, professional bodies, manufacturers, development partners, distributors and training institutions will discuss pre-market regulatory requirements for medical products, safety and quality monitoring of medicinal products and health technologies in Kenya.

HEALTH CRISIS

“Falsified and substandard medicines are a global health crisis, spread across an international marketplace for pharmaceuticals and their ingredients, which demands a collective solution,” said Dr Kioko during the opening ceremony.

Licensing, goods distribution practices and legislative framework of pharmaceuticals in the country will also be discussed.

“The PPB through its secretariat has stepped up its commitment to fight the dangers posed by substandard, spurious, falsely labelled and falsified medical products,” he added.

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Last year the Board, which regulates the practice of pharmacy and the manufacture and trade in drugs and poisons, introduced banners with a health safety code.

Using the code, the public can send an SMS to 21031 to verify the legitimacy of the facility and the person operating it.

SAFE PHARMACIES

“We want to remind our consumers that the safest pharmacies are accredited by PPB and the most trusted and respected means for the public to distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate drug sellers is to use the health safety code which is displayed in all registered pharmacies,” noted Dr Kioko.

Two months ago, the board also acquired new machines for testing of medicines in the field.

READ: Killing you slowly: Inside Kenya’s fake drug scourge

In May, the drug regulator acquired two specialised handheld gadgets ( Sh500,000 each) for screening medicines to confirm if they are genuine or substandard.

STANDARDS

Explaining the measures put in place, Dr Kioko said that all drug manufacturing sites have to be inspected to ensure that they comply with the required standards.

“The registered medicines have to be retained each year in order to monitor them,” he explained.

The DMS also added that imported products, which amount to about 70 per cent of the medicines used in the country, including donations must also get an import permit from PPB for them to get into the country.

The conference will be closed by the Principal Secretary for Health, Julius Korir on Wednesday.

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