By GRACE CHAILE-LESOETSA
ZAMBIA Medicines Regulatory Authority (ZAMRA) has been tasked to prevent the 30 percent fake and substandard medicines globally enter the local market.
And the Minister of Health, Dr Jonas Chanda has said Government would engage its legal team to investigate and prosecute those who were involved in the supply of defective and substandard drugs.
Dr Chanda told ZAMRA to pull up its socks and ensure that the 30 percent substandard medicines did not reach the Zambia market.
“We have 70 percent genuine medicines on the market while the other 30 percent is a kind of a black mafia system. So ZAMRA you have to up your game to prevent that 30 percent of substandard drugs from coming into our market,” he said.
Dr. Chanda said ZAMRA had to focus on prevention by ensuring all the drugs that come in are tested and not the tendency of recalling drugs when they have already harmed the public.
He said preventing substandard drugs was a policing job which cannot be done by ZAMRA alone but would have to be done in a multi-sectorial manner by engaging other bodies such as the Immigration and the Zambia Police.
Dr. Chanda has also given a one-week ultimatum to Medical Stores Limited and ZAMRA to submit a report indicating how many substandard medical supplies t have been recalled.
He said he will not tolerate anything that would harm the people and that punitive measures need to be imposed on all those involved in supply of such medical products.
Dr Chanda said he would soon sign the commencement order that will see the procurement function moved from the Ministry of Health to MSL to be called The Zambia Medicines and Medical Supplies Agency.
He said there was need for Zambia to start manufacturing its drugs to avoid being taken advantage of saying, “56 years after independence is uncalled for.”