The Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB) has vowed to tighten the noose on unscrupulous businessmen in the health sector after the agency nabbed drugs worth Sh2 million being sneaked into the country through Uganda and Tanzania borders.
The drugs smuggled through Namanga, Loitoktok, Busia and Malaba were seized on Friday.
The board’s senior inspector of drugs Julius Kalua said the drugs were being ferried using Public Service Vehicles (PSVs) and personal cars.
He noted that the drugs that included antibiotics, analgesics (painkillers), cough syrups and diagnostic devices are not registered in Kenya.
Also, those who were ferrying the consignment did not have documentation showing where the drugs were from and their destination.
“Most of the drugs that were seized are not registered in Kenya. Even though they are registered in the neighbouring counties, in Kenya they are illegal. This can be dangerous to many Kenyans, considering that they are not genuine,” Kaluai said.
The officer confirmed that the agency had taken the drugs for analysis to verify their content. There are fears that some could contain either the wrong dose of active ingredients or none at all.
“We are going to monitor export and import of the drugs because some of our officers are also sneaking drugs to the said countries. We will control by all means the smuggling of the illegal medicine through the porous borders,” he warned.
There are concerns that most of the drugs end up in illegal pharmacies in the country putting many lives at risk.
Over the recent past, the board has shut down a number of pharmacies across the country as part of efforts to fight the vice.
Two weeks ago, the board announced the closure of 84 illegal pharmacies within the Nyanza region in its latest crackdown.
The crackdown covered the counties of Kisumu, Nyamira, Kisii, Homabay, Migori and Siaya and targeted those pharmacy outlets that were found to have flouted regulations.
At least 80 people were arrested in the crackdown and 137 cartons of assorted medicine seized.