ZAMRA warns health facilities to observe the law

THE Zambia Medicines Regulatory Authority has warned health facilities operating a hospital pharmacy to strictly adhere to the Medicines and Allied Substances Act and has threatened legal action against all those found wanting.

The Health Professions Council of Zambia has disclosed that 32 out of 120 health facilities in Lusaka were found stocking and dispensing expired drugs and medical supplies.

HPCZ senior public relations officer Chinyota Msimuko stated that the council recently conducted compliance monitoring inspections in Lusaka Province from December 3 to 13, an exercise which revealed high levels of non-compliance among a number of facilities.

Msimuko stated that the 32 non-compliant healthcare facilities have since been closed and would be dealt with in accordance with the law.

And ZAMRA public relations officer Ludovic Mwape stated yesterday that it participated in the Joint Compliance Monitoring Inspections with HPCZ.

Mwape stated that ZAMRA noted with concern during the inspections that some of the facilities were found with expired medicines and medical supplies on emergency trays and shelves together with non-expired medicines.

He stated that in view of these observations, the non-compliant facilities were directed to withdraw the expired products from the non-expired products for immediate disposal in order to protect the public.

“During the same inspections ZAMRA noted with great concern the high number of health care facilities operating without qualified pharmacy personnel. It is the view of the Authority that engagement of qualified personnel will greatly reduce the stocking and dispensing of expired drugs and medical supplies in health facilities,” said Mwape.
“We reiterate that stocking of expired medical products is not tantamount to dispensing. However, expired stock should be secluded from the non-expired stock. We wish to sternly warn all health facilities operating a hospital pharmacy to strictly adhere to the Medicines and Allied Substances Act (No. 3) of 2013, failure to which the Authority will not hesitate to take legal action to all those that are found wanting…Section 60 (1) (2) of the Medicines and Allied Substances Act states that “A person shall not supply or sell an expired medicine or allied substances”. A person who contravenes this section commits an offence and is liable, upon conviction in the courts of law, to a fine not exceeding one million penalty units which is equivalent to ZMK 300,000.00 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding three years, or to both.”

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