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NDA in crack down on makeshift medicine markets

The National Drug Authority (NDA) conducted a three-week (February to March 6 2020) enforcement operation to curb against selling / hawking of medicines in shift markets in the Eastern Region.

The operation was a follow up to reinforce the earlier conducted similar activity in March 2019 and is expected to curtail hawking and selling of human and veterinary drug shops by unqualified personnel in shift markets.

The operation held in fifteen Districts, targeted 21 shift markets in Teso sub-region (Soroti, Kumu, Ngora, Bukedea, Katakwi, Amuria, Kapelbyong, Pallisa, Butebo, Serere, Kalaki, Kaberamaido) and Bukedi sub-region (Sironko, Bududa, Bulambuli), led to arrest of 40 suspects (07 women and 33 men).Number of Case Files opened are 14 CRBs/SDs and four persons have already been convicted and sentenced. Medicines impounded in the entire operation comprised of 66 boxes of assorted medicine (8 vet and 58 human) estimated at Ushs.165,000,000.

This massive operation follows a first one that was conducted in March 2019 in nine markets (Bukedea, Obalanga, Ochapa, Kasilo, Ngora, Arapai, Katine, Kamuand Buyaga) that led to arrest of 19 suspects a number of whom have served their sentences.

The way medicines are handled throughout the distribution chain influences their safety, efficacy and quality. Medicines must be stored and transported in an environment that shall not affect their effectiveness. Hot environment and moisture (such as that in shift-markets and in some illegal outlets) negatively affects the quality of drugs. These shift-markets are not at all suitable because the drugs are exposed to extreme conditions and can deteriorate before the expiry date.

Hawking or selling of medicines in shift-markets is illegal and whoever is doing so is fleecing the unsuspecting public of their hard earned income for no health benefit.

NDA urges the population to always buy medicines from licensed drug shops or pharmacies, not shift markets or hawkers.

NDA plans to hold sensitization meetings withal managers of these markets, district political leaders and technocrats as a way of curbing this vice.

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