• He also urged foreign investors to open manufacturing businesses in Kenya, saying the government has removed bureaucratic processes in licensing businesses.
• He said security agencies will be involved in the crackdown.
Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua on Wednesday directed the Pharmacy and Poisons Board to crack the whip on chemists selling counterfeit drugs.
He also urged foreign investors to open manufacturing businesses in Kenya, saying the government has removed bureaucratic processes in licensing businesses.
Gachagua said the government will not allow chemists to sell fake medicines and drugs that have not been certified.
“The Pharmacy and Poisons Board must intensify the crackdown on manufacturing and trafficking of counterfeit pharmaceuticals across the country. We have allocated resources to facilitate the regulatory body in delivering on this assignment,” the DP said,
Gachagua, who was speaking in Nairobi’s Industrial Area during the opening of the Sh1.5 billion Questa Care Pharmaceuticals manufacturing company, said security agencies will be involved in the crackdown.
“The Pharmacy and Poisons Board must work hard. We are finding a situation where drugs that should not be sold over-the-counter are in chemists and pharmacies. Drugs whose sale is criminal in nature find their way to the counter. We call for a very serious operation to root out such drugs,” he said.
Emphasising that a multi-agency approach is key in complementing the board’s efforts in physical and online surveillance, Gachagua asked the board to be more aggressive in protecting Kenyans from unlawful practice.
He was accompanied by Pastor Dorcas Rigathi, Principal secretaries Dr Harry Kimtai (Medical Services) and Dr Juma Mukhwana (Industrialisation).
Kenya Medical Supplies Authority Board of Directors chairperson Irungu Nyakera, the organisation’s CEO Dr Andrew Mulwa, Pharmacy and Poisons Board CEO Dr Fred Siyoi and Questa Care CEO Rohan Kothari were also present.
The Deputy President also welcomed the opening of the new manufacturing company, which will employ at least 500 people.
“We have a challenge with employment of the young people as six million youths have no jobs. Anybody starting a company in Kenya plays a great role in sorting out the unemployment crisis," Gachagua said.
"We want to encourage local manufacturers and other people including international investors to come here. Local manufacturing creates jobs, saves the foreign currency and expands the tax bracket.”
He said Kemsa has opened doors for Kenyan investors in manufacturing and that 62 per cent of drugs are being procured locally.
“Kemsa is doing good by ring-fencing purchase of drugs from local manufacturers for the drugs that they are able to manufacture. In a few years it will go to 100 per cent,” Gachagua said.
“Covid-19 revealed weaknesses in the country's health sector and pharmaceutical industry. I encourage the youth to come up with innovation to raise country’s profile in manufacturing,” Pastor Dorcas said.