Jumia Kenya under investigation for trading prescription only drugs


The Pharmacy and Poisons Board has launched investigations into Jumia Kenya illegal sale of Prescription Only Medicine (POM) on the platform without license.

The Board has said the e-commerce giant has been engaging in advertisement, promotion and trade of health products and technologies (HPTs) including prescription only medicines contrary to the Pharmacy and Poisons Act which it says “poses a great risk to patient safety and promotes irrational use of HPTs”.

“Jumia Kenya has been instructed to immediately pull down all the illegal advertisements and investigations are underway to ensure appropriate regulatory action is taken against person and parties involved in this particular case,” said Dr. F.M Siyoi in a statement released Thursday.

Dr. Siyoi further added that it is engaging regulatory agencies such as Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) for interventions and non-compliant HPT e-commerce domains.

Cap 244 of the Act  prohibits anybody from advertising any drug or poison except with the written permission of the Board.

Any person who contravenes the requirement is liable to a fine not exceeding Kshs. 20,000 or a jail term not exceeding one year.

However, Jumia Kenya which is an online marketplace connecting buyers and sellers has laid blame on vendors.

Nonetheless, the firm said it is working closely with them to ensure consumers are protected against the sale of unsafe, illegal and unlicensed products when they shop on the online platform.

“We take action when a seller contravenes the rules and regulations. Necessary action has been taken in this case, in collaboration with the Pharmacy and Poisons Board to hold the seller accountable,” said Jumia Kenya in its response.

The Board has further warned wholesalers and retailers against contravening rules governing sale of Prescription Only Medicine.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers have found convenience in purchasing goods and service online a factor that has led to rapid expansion of e-commerce platforms in Kenya.

According to a report by AllTheResearch, online pharmacy market is expected to reach $202.3 billion by 2027 from $68.2 billion in 2020, with a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 16.8%.

The growth will further be driven by increase internet use, generation of online prescriptions by licensed medical outlets and higher adoption of online service.

Kenya is one of the countries with high internet adoption boasting of 26.8 million mobile broadband subscribers as of September last year.


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