NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 3 – Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki says the overpricing of drugs in pharmacies poses a threat to achieving Universal Health Care (UHC) under the government’s Big Four Agenda.
Speaking during the opening of the Horn of Africa Pharmaceutical Conference and expo 2018 on Wednesday, Kariuki pointed out the prices of various drugs in Kenya is much higher compared to other countries.
“I am told that some commodities manufactured in Kenya get into Kigali at as cheap a price than when they are in our kiosks here in Nairobi. How can it be?” she posed. “The issue of overpricing which now doubles the payment of the already expensive drugs is a reality,” she said.
She revealed that many are forced to buy substandard medicine which in turn has a negative impact on their health.
“We have also witnessed again well documented overpriced medicine both in the public and private sectors. How can we expected to support UHC as the theme of this workshop is when we do a 400pc mark-up for whatever reason?” she said.
She emphasised the need for a partnership between the public and private sectors to regularise the prices of drugs to make them more affordable and accessible to Kenyans.
“If we have to get onto UHC, believe you me, you as a profession perhaps has the tallest order and the tallest tree to climb. The significant prevalence of what I just described as substandard and falsified medicine which is now well documented presents a huge threat to patient safety especially to this continent and country,” she stressed.
“Important to note also is that falsified and substandard medicine bleed this country,” she stated.