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OUTSPOKEN UPND cadre, Larry Mweetwa has opposed Health Minister, Sylvia Masebo’s decision to move the procurement of drugs from the ministry headquarters to the Zambia Medicines and Medical Supplies Agency (ZAMMSA) claiming that it was not in line with new dawn government agenda.

Dr Mweetwa said the tender requirement that the suppliers must have a ZAMRA market authorisation certificate ID would restrict bidding to only about eight pharmaceutical companies in Zambia.

“Ninety percent  of these companies are owned by Asians who do not even keep the millions in the country but after making profit they externalise the money to Bombay to go build hotels, leaving our people suffering,” he lamented in a statement.

Dr Mweetwa said what ZAMMSA should have done was demand for certificate of analysis for the product to be supplied, saying that this assures quality of content and independent retesting of the products by ZAMRA. 

He complained that the move would allow some people including him who wanted to supply medicines at cheaper price from the UK and Israel,  to do so, but that the method would disadvantage them. 

“We don’t want our citizens to daily be exposed to substandard Honeybee products from India,” Dr Mweetwa said.

He claimed that the route ZAMMSA had taken would mean that the Indian owner of the market authorisation would quote any price due to lack of competition and government was bound to lose more money.

Dr Mweetwa said President Hakainde Hichilema promised to create Zambian millionaires but that now Zambians,  especially pharmacists , were being excluded. 

Dr Mweetwa demanded that first preference be given to Zambian drug manufacturing companies as the industry was dominated by foreigners.

He said Zambian firms create jobs for locals and also commit to cooperate social responsibilities by helping communities.

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