The National Drugs Authority (NDA) have arrested 19 people and closed down more than 76 illegal drug-shops and clinics in Eastern region. This was done in a four day operations.
In a press release issued by the public relations officer National Drug Authority, Fredrick Ssekyana, the operation was against illegal sale of medicine in shift markets.
The operations was jointly conducted by NDA officials and police.
All the 29 districts in Eastern region, where more than 250 drug shops and clinics were inspected.
The move to phase out illegal sale of medicine in shift markets, according to Ssekyana, is intended to ensure equitable distribution of medical services to peripheral areas where access is considered lacking.
Among the markets in which the operation was conducted include: Bukedea market in Bukedea district, Katine and Arapai markets in Soroti district, Kasilo and Ocapa markets in Serere district, Market Street in Kaberemaido district, Kamu market in Bulambuli district, Ocorimongin Market in Katakwi district, Ngora market in Ngora district and Obalanga market in Kapelebyong district.
“We impounded all the drugs in more than 76 drug shops and closed them due to failure to observe minimum operational standards,” Sskyana said.
He added: “The 19 people arrested were found selling government drugs suspected to have been stolen from government health facilities where they are employed while others were selling expired drugs in their private clinics and drug shops.”
One of such clinics is Healing drug shop in Market Street, Kaberemaido district where 3340 tablets believed to have been stolen from government facilities were seized and the owner is currently on run.
Ssekyana said the drugs, which their team confiscated, would only be given back to the owners after they have corrected issues which prompted their business premises to be closed down.
Samuel Kyomukama, the head of enforcement at NDA said the confiscated drugs would be destroyed if they (those arrested) fail to fulfill the requirement and or comply within three months.
He observed that some of the outlets which were closed down were operating in unhygienic conditions.
“Some drugs were recovered hidden in mattresses and under beds after drug shop owners lock their business premises and carried all the drugs home on learning about the NDA inspections”, said Kyomukama.
Huldah Nassali, the Eastern region’s NDA officer based in Tororo said they found a scenario where a drug shop which is licensed only to sell certain class of drugs is also carrying out diagnosis and prescription of drugs and treating patients as if it is a clinic and that clinics which are not supposed to sell drugs have turned into drugs shops and display drugs for sale.
Some of the drugs NDA confiscated, according to her, were being sold illegally like foodstuff in markets by people with no medical knowledge.
Such drugs she says become toxic and not fit for consumption because of exposure to too much heat from the sun.
Nassali said some outlets were found being operated by unqualified people which puts people’s lives at risk because they give wrong prescriptions.
She further said NDA drugs inspectors from all the nine regions were in Eastern region to reinforce their team in the operations which lasted a week since Monday last week.
Previous cases handled in Eastern region.
Busia: CRB 1135/18- Uganda Verses Nafula, partly heard in Busia court.
Soroti: CRB 1040/18 Uganda Verses Odeke and 3 others (Gloria Acio, Ben Orisa and Emmanuel Opio) partly heard at Soroti court.
Soroti: CRB 088/19- Uganda Verses Joseph Acwa and Simon Opio.
Busia: CRB 102/19- Uganda verses Edga Lumbasi, he was convicted.
Busia: CRB 103/19- Uganda verses Mohamed Ali, he was convicted.
Kibuuku: CRB 003/19- Uganda verses Robert Oluka and others (Grace Itait, Joseph Ohola and Simon Akorimo, this case is partly heard in court.
Katakwi: CRB 49/19- Uganda verses Lucy Atado and six others (Florence Akello. Sam Onyait, James Otim, Isaac Okwi, Silver Okerenyang and Betty Atim).