MPs urge government to release drugs held at port to ease shortage
Members of the National Assembly yesterday raised concern over a drugs shortage in the country as it emerged containers with medical supplies are being held at the Inland Container Depot awaiting verification.
At a meeting with the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (Kemsa) Chief Executive Jonah Manjari, MPs who sit in the Health committee urged the government to release the drugs to ease the shortage that has affected service delivery.
Their complaints come at a time Kenya Revenue Authority and Kenya Bureau of Standards have heightened clamp down on both tax evasion and counterfeit goods.
MPs Sabina Chege (Murang’a county), Bernad Koross (Sigowet Soin) and Esther Passaris (Nairobi county) said urgent measures are required to resolve the crisis.
Their sentiments came after Maanjari, who had appeared before the committee over budget implementation, admitted that there were delays in the supply of the drugs due to the crackdown on counterfeits.
He said suppliers say their commodities are still awaiting verification and clearance.
He however said the situation is easing with hospitals such as Pumwani Hospital that were in dire need getting supplies a week ago. He added that counties owe the institution Sh2.5 billion in pending bills which also affects supply of medicine.
“Nairobi County leads with Sh321 million of pending bills but as of last week, they paid Sh66 million to enable us process drugs for various hospitals including Mama Lucy,” he said.
The drugs shortage comes after the Ministry of Trade, last month introduced new regulations that require goods to have a Pre-export Verification of Conformity (PVoC) certificate.
The PVoC is a conformity assessment certificate which is issued to exporting countries before the products are brought in.
The certificate costs USD $250 (Sh25,000) per product and is done by Kenya Bureau of Standards appointed companies