The National Drug Authority- NDA failed to inspect half of the drug
plants in the country.
According to its new report, NDA
only carried out less than half of its annual drug inspections last year.
While the authority has a mandate of ensuring that all medicines manufactured
locally and those imported into the country are of good quality and are
properly handled throughout the distribution supply chain to maintain quality
and traceability, the 2020 annual report indicates that they
only did 92 inspections of manufacturing plants out of the 200 that they had
scheduled to conduct.
Each year the authority targets to visit at least 200 sites to evaluate whether
pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities that intend to market their products in
Uganda comply with good manufacturing practices that guarantee consistent
production of quality medicines.
Fredrick Ssekyana, NDA’s Public Relations Officer says that the low performance
was due to cancellation of international travels caused by the COVID-19
pandemic. He says their performance had been going up until the interruption
citing the previous year 2018/2019 when they assessed 205 foreign facilities
representing 103% coverage.
When it comes to local pharmaceutical manufacturers, the report dubbed National
Drug Authority Report to the Nation FY 2019/2020 shows they visited 23 sites
representing an increase by five facilities from 18 the previous year.
However, the report notes that there were no inspections conducted for herbal
medicine sites last year even as the authority set up a fully-fledged
department to handle herbal products both in terms of ensuring their safety and
having known and measured ingredients in the products.
Ssekyana says in terms of herbal products, they did more of
training manufacturers than being heavy handed with ensuring compliance to
regulations. He explains that this was intended to create rapport since
previously herbalists have been largely flying on their own.
//Cue: “Under herbal we…
Cue out: “…At the beginning”//
However, according to the report, a total of 8,696 consignments were received
through the respective ports of entry last
year of which 95.3% were inspected. This was
slightly lower than the 8,787 consignments received in 2019.
The main ports of entry for both imported and exported medicines
include Nakawa inland port, Entebbe Airport, Busia and Malaba.