Ministry of Health intensifies drugs branding

THE Ministry of Health has intensified the branding of drugs procured by Government in an effort to minimise pilferage which has been reported in most public health institutions.
Deputy director pharmaceutical Chikuta Mbewe said in an interview that the branding of drugs will also help members of the public to identify drugs which are not meant to be sold to them.
“Some of the features will include, ‘Not to be sold, property for Government, the coat of arms and a colour code to allow for easy identification of medicines procured by Government,” Mr Mbewe said.
He said authorised drug dealers and members of the public will be sensitised on the new branding in most parts of the country.
Mr Mbewe, however, warned that people who will be found selling drugs which is the property of Government will face the law.
“For health workers, it will be instant dismissal because we believe the people who supply these drugs should be in the system so our aim is to deal with the source so that we cut the link between the supplier and the dealer,” he said.
Recently, a joint task force of the Ministry of Health and its partners conducted an operation in Lusaka and Lundazi on the pilferage of drugs.
It was established that most people dealing in drugs are former health workers who claimed to be ignorant about the sale of medicines procured by Government.
Mr Wilfred Mbewe and his wife Catherine, a former nurses who set up Wilfred and Sons drug store in Lundazi were found selling coartem a property of government.
“We did not know that it was an offence to sell these drugs despite having read the labels that ‘Not for Sale’ Government should have sensitised us on this matter because we just receive these drugs from someone who comes from Malawi,” Mr Mbewe and his wife said.
Others who were found in possession of the same drugs include, Maureen Mwila 34, Rosa Mtonga 40, among other dealers.
Most people who were arrested by the task force claimed to have been using the money realised from the sales to pay children school fees and to sustain their lives.

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