Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua on Wednesday directed the Pharmacy and Poisons Board to crack whip on chemists selling counterfeit drugs saying the commodities are a health risk to Kenyans.
At the same time, the Deputy President called on foreign investors to open manufacturing businesses in Kenya saying the government has removed bureaucratic processes in licensing businesses.
Gachagua said that though the Ruto Administration’s policy is that no enterprise should be criminalised, 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 crack down on manufacturing and trafficking of counterfeit pharmaceuticals across the country. We have allocated resources to facilitate the regulatory body in delivering on this assignment,” said the Deputy President.
Speaking in Nairobi’s Industrial Area during the opening of the Sh1.5 billion Questa Care Pharmaceuticals manufacturing company, the Deputy President 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, the Deputy President asked the board to be more aggressive in protecting Kenyans from unlawful practice.
The Deputy President 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 6 million youths have no jobs. Anybody starting a company in Kenya plays a great role in sorting out the unemployment crisis. 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,” said the Deputy President.
“Manufacturing is a deliberate program for President William Ruto’s Administration. As an Administration, we have gone out of our way to make sure that licensing is as easy as possible by doing away with bureaucratics to enable people start factories,” he added.
Appealing to foreign investors, the Deputy President said that Kenya is the East African regional economic hub and an anchor state open to foreign investment.
“Kenya is an island of peace and security, it is an anchor State and we have good financial systems that are working. We invite people from across the world to come and invest here and more so in manufacturing because the environment is conducive for investing,” he said.
He also stated that the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority has opened doors for Kenyan investors in manufacturing and that 62 per cent of drugs are being procured locally.
“Kemsa is doing good by ringfencing purchase of drugs from local manufacturers for the drugs that they are able to manufacture. In a few years it will go to 100 percent,” said Gachagua.