The regional fight against counterfeit drugs got a major boost after USAID Kenya Pharma donated testing equipment and a management system worth Sh36 million.
Following the delivery of two Ultra High Performance Liquid Chromatography machines, the testing capacity of Mission for Essential Drugs and Supplies (MEDS), the Catholic church-funded drugs supplier, has now doubled to 120 samples every month.
Additionally, the Laboratory Information Management system that was part of the system will enable the supplier, which also has a World Health Organisation certified laboratory to generate information on the prevalence of counterfeit and substandard drugs in the region. Such vital information will then be shared with such agencies like the Anti-Counterfeit Agency and the Kenya Bureau of Standards, according to MEDS Managing Director, Paschal Manyuru.
“This system will also enable us to share information with other regulators and players in the health sector to ensure a coordinated fight against this illegal practice,” he said. He added that the fight against counterfeit drugs was prevalent in the country and requires a concerted effort if quality health care is to be provided.
“It is a very serious problem (counterfeit drugs). We regularly send our officers in the field and you would be surprised that a good number of the random samples they encounter fail the quality test,” said Mr Manyuru.
The importance of ensuring the quality of our medicines, not only in Kenya, but also elsewhere in Africa cannot be overemphasised. It’s demoralising when a patient comes to you, you treat him only to come back a few days later with similar symptoms or in a worse condition,” said Mr Rene Berger, USAID team leader handing over the equipment.
He called for cooperation within the East African Community, especially in view of the fact that the five member states are opening up borders for greater trade.