The Kenya Association of Pharmaceutical Industry (KAPI), an industry regulator for the East African nation, has welcomed a recent move to crack down on unlicensed sellers of medication.
The backing comes after a call for increased surveillance and enforcement efforts by the country’s Pharmacy and Poisons Board.
“KAPI welcomes the recent increased enforcement actions that have seen the closure of more than 70 unlicensed pharmaceutical outlets,” the Association’s Chairperson, Dr Anastasia Nyalita, said in a statement issued on February 21st, 2018.
She added that a recent crackdown in Kenya’s Nairobi and South Rift Counties are an indicator of a much larger challenge affecting the local pharmaceutical space.
“The continued operation of such unlicensed pharmaceutical retail outlets poses a grave danger to the population. At KAPI, we remain strong advocates for a well-regulated medicines and related drugs market. Such a market provides for quality outcomes where pharmaceutical products are involved,” Dr Nyalita explained.
KAPI said in a statement that the proliferation of unlicensed pharmacies and unregulated pharmaceutical products in this market calls for concerted efforts to curb the menace.
“As an association, we commit to provide the necessary support to accelerate efforts to advance the integrity of the Pharmaceuticals market. As part of this efforts, we continue to urge the Pharmacy and Poisons Board to fully utilize digital technologies to track shipments and identify unregulated products to ensure that all products available in the Kenyan market are regulated,” Dr Nyalita continued.
It has since emerged that unregulated and illegal products in the local market, present a greater risk of deficiencies and poor efficacy due to potentially incorrect storage by middle-men, product formulation and packaging intended for other climates.
A baseline study was undertaken by Kenya’s University of Nairobi, School of Pharmacy last year, confirmed an 8% prevalence of unregulated or illegally imported medicinal brands.
The baseline study focused on 9 popular medicine brands and provided a representative sample for a wider market challenge.
The study was undertaken among 160 practising retailers through interviews and literature reviews with purchases for 543 products conducted in 326 retail outlets in all the major towns in Kenya.
“As an association, we continue to implore local consumers to avoid buying products that do not carry English or Swahili instructions for use or which are not labelled in English and or Swahili,” Dr. Nyalita said.