The amount of expired medicines across the country is estimated to be 1,200 to 1,500 tons. This is why the Ministry of Health has embarked on a drive to dispose of expired and unwanted medicines.
“It is naturally expected that about five per cent of pharmaceuticals in the distribution chain is bound to end up as obsolete or expired. The expired pharmaceuticals are a growing concern in the country and can also result in a risk to national security,” Diana Atwine, the permanent Secretary Ministry of Health has said.
The last time a massive exercise to dispose of unwanted drugs was carried out was in 2012. Atwine said the ministry disposed of expired medicines and other unwanted health supplies from 6,619 health facilities, both government owned and private not-for-profit (PNFP) health facilities.
“This process will create more space for adequate storage of medicines and other health supplies delivered by National Medical Stores (NMS), and Joint Medical Store(JMS), and prevent the risk of public health hazards, pilferage, and relabeling,” Atwine said in the press statement issued yesterday.
She said, a collaborative approach has been put in place between Ministry of Health, National Drug Authority (NDA), National Medical Stores (NMS) and Joint Medical Store (JMS) towards successful implementation and execution of this exercise.
“NDA has set aside resources to pay the contracted provider to incinerate the expired and obsolete medicines and other health supplies. The existing NMS logistics system will be used for collection of the obsolete supplies...and these will be incinerated at the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) approved disposal sites” Atwine said.
The Ministry of Health has also tasked the NDA to establish a rigorous post market surveillance system which will ensure that all the medicines on the market, both imported and locally manufactured are closely monitored for safety, efficacy and quality.
“With these measures, we would like to assure all Ugandans to have confidence in medicines prescribed and dispensed by all health facilities. Government is committed to providing the highest possible standard of health care to all people of Uganda,” Atwine said.