Gachagua Instructs Poisons Board to Intensify Crackdown Against Counterfeit Medicines

November 16, 2023

On Wednesday, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua instructed the Pharmacy and Poisons Board to crack down on pharmacies selling counterfeit drugs, emphasizing that such products pose a health risk to Kenyans.

Simultaneously, Gachagua urged foreign investors to establish manufacturing businesses in Kenya, highlighting that the government has streamlined licensing processes by eliminating bureaucratic hurdles.

The DP noted that while the Ruto Administration advocates against criminalizing any enterprise, it remains committed to preventing chemists from selling unlicensed and counterfeit medicines.

“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,” he said.

Addressing a gathering in Nairobi’s Industrial Area at the inauguration of the Sh1.5 billion Questa Care Pharmaceuticals manufacturing company, Gachagua declared that security agencies would play a role in the enforcement 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.

The Deputy President welcomed the opening of the new manufacturing company, which will employ at least 500 people.

“We have a challenge with the 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 to start factories,” he added.

In an appeal to foreign investors,  Gachagua said Kenya serves as the East African regional economic hub and key state for welcoming 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.

The DP also mentioned the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority(KEMSA) has facilitated opportunities for Kenyan investors in the manufacturing sector, highlighting that 62 percent of drugs are now 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.

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