The National Drug Authority (NDA) south-eastern regional office has closed 277 drug shops accused of operating illegally.
The drug shops were closed in the three weeks long operation covering Namayingo, Namatumba, Bugweri, Kamuli, Kaliro, Luuka, Buyende, Mayuge, Buikwe, Kayunga, Iganga, Jinja districts and Jinja city. During the operation, 567 drug outlets, 16 clinics, five pharmacies and 18 veterinary shops were inspected. 176 out of the 528 drug shops for human medicine were found to be licensed while 172 were in the process of renewing their 2021 operational license.
The NDA enforcement unit also impounded 298 boxes of assorted drugs worth about Shillings 44.7 million whose owners were found operating in disregard of necessary procedures of trading in human and animal medicines. The team also arrested Godfrey Ojiambo, the proprietor of general store whom they faulted of selling veterinary medicines in a hardware shop.
The team also recovered an unspecified amount of government drugs including ARVs from Sam’s drug shop in Bugiri town council, Coartem from Yamwe drug shop in Kayunga and strip ciprofloxacin from BMK drug shop in Jinja city. Samuel Kyomukama, the head of enforcement NDA, says that some drug outlets were selling drugs from unlabeled tins yet such storage facilities are a reserve of government entities.
Kyomukama stresses that the routine operations are aimed at ensuring the quality of medicines sold within the market so as to save the general public from substandard drugs.
Jane Mirembe, the Jinja district Deputy Drug Inspector says that all drug shops in town councils are fully licensed. She, however, said drug outlets in rural sub-counties evade the routine inspections and it is hard for the authorities to ascertain whether such operators are qualified enough to handle medicines.