Rampant Violations: Unlicensed Drug Outlets Under Scrutiny in Lango Region
In a joint effort, the National Drugs Authority (NDA) and the Uganda Police have seized a substantial quantity of medicines, valued at 69 million shillings, from unlicensed drug shops in Lango sub-region. This operation aimed to enforce compliance with drug regulations and took place over five days in six districts: Apac, Alebtong, Kole, Oyam, Lira District, and City. The outcome revealed a troubling lack of adherence, with the closure of 216 drug outlets operating without licenses or staffed by unqualified personnel. The recovery included 268 boxes of assorted medicines.
Zablon K. Igirikwayo, the manager of NDA’s Lira branch, expressed his concern regarding the operation’s limited scope, compared to previous region-wide actions. It is evident that the compliance levels in these six districts were shockingly low. One disturbing aspect is that community members are obstructing such operations, protecting unqualified practitioners offering quick but risky alternatives at low prices.
Samuel Kyomukama, the Head of Enforcement, recognized the challenges but affirmed NDA’s commitment to ongoing operations, prioritizing the safety of Ugandans. He appealed to the public to purchase medicines exclusively from licensed pharmacies and drug shops, emphasizing the importance of their credentials.
Dr. Anthony Ogwal, the Lira District Veterinary Officer, highlighted the significance of these operations in conjunction with the efforts of veterinary extension workers to eliminate unlicensed drug outlets from the community. These combined initiatives aim to ensure that only safe and regulated medicines are available to the public.
NDA holds the critical responsibility of safeguarding public health by effectively regulating human and animal medicines, as well as healthcare products. However, the recent operation shed light on alarming failures within the Lango region’s drug trade, indicating a need for stricter enforcement and increased public awareness.