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GSK assures of quality drugs

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 1 – Drug manufacturing giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has assured Kenyans that their medicines were of high quality and safe for consumption following media reports of a government order for the withdrawal of some key drugs from the market.

Medical and Regulatory Affairs Director, Dr William Mwatu said on Monday that all GSK products were licensed before they got to the market as was the requirement by the Kenyan law.

Addressing a press conference, he said the registration process involved provision of samples of the product to the pharmacy and poisons board for evaluation, evaluation of information and data provided by the manufacturing company and inspection of the manufacturing sites to confirm quality standards.

“All the plants that we manufacture our products from are duly licensed in those host countries where we do get those products from. Part of the confirmation during registration is that the details you provide in your manufacturing are validated by both the Kenyan authority and also the host country authorities,” Dr Mwatu said.

GSK Managing Director John Musunga said the Kenyan law required that the name of the actual manufacturing site be inscribed and that was why there was a problem because GSK owned over 100 manufacturing sites.

“If the manufacturing site is known as Glaxo, that is the name that will appear on the pack. Here in Kenya we manufacture under the name GlaxoSmithKline limited and all our legacy companies which include SmithKline Beecham and many others are part of that group of companies so depending on where the factory is and the name, that is what will appear on the pack,” Mr Musunga said.

The Pharmacy and Poisons board had two weeks ago issued a letter to GSK asking them to immediately withdraw eleven of their brands which included commonly used antibiotics Amoxil and Septrin from the market following suspected counterfeits.

However the board rescinded on the order a few days later after the issue was sorted out and GSK confirmed that the drugs in contention were actually from the same company and not counterfeits.

The Chief Pharmacist Dr Kipkerich Koskei had told Capital News last week that there were several letters written between the government and the firm before the matter was eventually sorted out.

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