13 February 2019
. . . useful items stashed in expired drugs
USEFUL health equipment was found stashed in expired drugs meant for disposal yesterday at NatPharm.
The Health and Child Care Parliamentary Portfolio Committee members were shocked to discover some of the laboratory items hidden under expired drugs during a tour at National Pharmacy yesterday.
National Assembly Health and Child Care committee chairperson, Ruth Labode demanded answers from NatPharm managing director Florah Nancy Sifeku about the equipment.
Director in the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Dr Douglas Mangwanya ordered the items to be removed.
“As laboratory services, some of the items that are said to have expired actually have not and were hidden under boxes of expired drugs,” said Dr Mangwanya.
“Some of the items found are plastic and were as well hidden when they can be used in some of the laboratories countrywide and we have advised NatPharm to remove them from shelves and be distributed in various laboratories where they are needed,” said Dr Mangwanya.
MPs challenged NatPharm to cover all areas with reports that Gwanda was being sidelined.
Sifeku was nearly forced to divulge issues pertaining to allegations of maladministration she is facing before the courts when the Portfolio committee bombarded her with questions pertaining the procurement of medicines and measures NatPharm was taking to arrest the shortage if they fail to get support from donors.
“We are facing problems of private pharmacies buying medicine from us and charging their clients in United States dollars,” said Sifeku.
“We are going to make an assessment on having private pharmacies so as to reach people in remote areas,” she said.
The portfolio committee discouraged NatPharm from running private pharmacies arguing that they had facilities like clinics and hospitals where they could supply.
Sifeku admitted that one of the pharmacies located at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals was being run by a private company when hospitals pharmacies are failing to get enough medicines.