Kenya poisons board told to show fangs

March 29, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 29 – Medical Services Permanent Secretary James Ole Kiyiapi is now directing the Kenya Pharmacy and Poisons Board (KPPB) to tighten its surveillance measures and shape up to curb the incessant inflow of counterfeit drugs.

Prof Kiyiapi said on Monday that the regulatory Board needed to hasten its reform process and added that it should provide the public with clear guidelines on which medicines should be sold off-counter and which ones should not.

He also said the Board ought to develop stringent measures to rid the Kenyan market of dangerous medicines.

“We don’t want you to do business as usual anymore because there is just too much at stake as far as this industry is concerned. We need to wake up this Board and we recognise those good steps that have been made but they are not good enough. We must move at another level; we must give punch and be coordinated with government and those players in the industry,” he said.

Prof Kiyiapi who was speaking during the KPPB’s launch of its citizen service delivery charter also noted that there had been a perennial shortage of drugs in public hospitals. He however assured Kenyans that the country would not have any more shortages as the government had struck a deal with the World Bank that would ensure the country had a medicine stock that would last two years.

He further added that the government would tighten the management systems in public hospitals to stop the fraudulent loss of medical equipment and drugs from hospitals through unscrupulous medical professionals.

He explained that hospitals would soon be required to account for all the supplies they received and spent as a means of sealing loopholes in the medicine supply chain.

The Medical Services PS also said the Pharmacy Board had been lax and that it needed to finalise its regulatory policy which would help aid its activities.

“It appeared as though the slow pace of reforms is because of the government but I actually want to say no; I have been waiting for a whole year for you people (KPPB) to put on my desk a well refined policy so that we can put it through to Cabinet. The sooner you bring this document to my desk the faster we move,” he said adding that they needed to be proactive.

“Otherwise we will keep talking and complaining and pointing fingers but our work will not be completed. We need the policy concluded,” he said adding that he had formed a team that would quicken the formulation of the said policy.

He also implored upon the regulatory institution to put in place effective controls at the border points to control fake drugs saying the government would work with Tanzania and Uganda to manage the same. Prof Kiyiapi explained that the fake medication distorted pricing of medicine in the market and also risked people’s health.

He further added that the Board needed to transparently educate Kenyans on its duties as it owed it to the tax payers: “Citizens pay taxes in exchange for services and it is necessary that we measure both the quality and quantity of those services.” 

Prof Kiyiapi also emphasised the need for KPPB to deliver its pharmaceutical services saying good health was one of the key pillars of the national agenda- Vision 2030.

KPPB registrar Kipkoritch Koskei noted that porous borders remained a challenge in controlling counterfeits. He also added that the Board would move into enhancing its performances.

KPPB also launched its Rapid Result Initiative set to facilitate an improvement in the Board’s services within a 90 to 100 days time period. Key among its plans is creation of awareness in which the institution will open a facebook page as a communication strategy among other strategies followed by a survey (after the 90 days period) to assess impact.

The Board will also conduct audits and apply other measures as a means of fighting corruption; provide appropriate legal frameworks that will see a reduction in the number of illegal medical outlets by 25 percent in Nairobi and Coast provinces and improve customer service.


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