NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 11 – A 300 percent budget increment is in the offing for the National Quality Control Laboratory (NQCL), to boost its capacity to deal with counterfeit medicines in Kenya.
Medical Services Permanent Secretary Professor James Ole Kiyiapi said on Wednesday that the government agency, which is the quality control arm of the Pharmacy and Poisons Board, was currently receiving Sh23 million out of the required Sh130 million.
“We may not reach the Sh130 million needed but if we double or triple what we have now, they would be fine. I also understand we are going to release immediately Sh40 million to the lab to deal with the issues of capacity and operational costs,” he said.
The PS made the announcement amidst growing concern over increased reports of counterfeit medicines in the Kenyan market, despite the presence of the fully equipped laboratory.
He said the lab is responsible for the overall quality control of all medicines imported or manufactured in Kenya but had been receiving minimal allocation from the Ministry.
“I also want them to carry out campaigns immediately through the media to explain in simple language to the public what counterfeit drugs are and the basic precautionary measures we can take,” the PS said.
“But for me the most effective strategy is to have a very efficient market surveillance,” he added.
The PS also noted that the NQCL was the only such public lab in Sub-Saharan Africa that had been certified by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Professor Ole Kiyiapi said with a strong inspection team it would be easy to conduct random inspections to make it difficult for dealers of the fake drugs to operate.
“When inspections are done randomly, it means the dealers are not prepared hence it will be difficult for them to continue without being caught,” he stated.