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NDA Fails to Inspect Drug Manufacturing Plants

The just released annual report indicates that they only did 92 inspections of manufacturing sources of the 200 that they had scheduled to conduct.

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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.