'Govt stocking expired veterinary drugs'

HARARE - State veterinarians are stocking expired drugs, posing a potential risk to animal health, an audit tabled in the National Assembly has revealed.

The government internal audit stated that there was a risk that some of the nation’s veterinarians could feed animals the expired antibiotics when sickness strikes as well as expired vaccines as a preventive measure.

Auditor-General (AG) Mildred Chiri has called on authorities to withdraw or immediately destroy the expired medicines.

“I was concerned by the continued presence of expired drugs at various district and provincial veterinary offices despite this matter having been raised in my previous audits,” the AG said in her findings.

The details of expired drugs and the respective stations include 467 000 milliliters of 20 percent Tetinil which was discovered at Kwekwe District veterinary office and had expired in June 2010.

A total of 23 400 doses of Newcastle disease vaccine which had expired in January 2014 were discovered at Marondera District veterinary office.

The AG also discovered 2 070 — 200 milliliters of 10 percent Tetinil at Midlands provincial veterinary office. The drugs expired in July 2010.

Other expired medication was found in stock at Makonde District veterinary offices and Manicaland provincial veterinary offices.

“Expired drugs may be used for stock balancing purposes in exchange for active drugs and these may end up being administered to animals,” Chiri said of the implication.

“All expired drugs should be removed from the storeroom and subsequently destroyed using the authorised method of destruction.”

The department of Livestock and Veterinary Services said they would comply with the directive to destroy the expired drugs.

Chiri concluded that the veterinary services head office should inform her office about progress made towards the destruction of the expired drugs.

She also raised concern over sale of fake stock cards, recommending that the ministry should institute a board of inquiry.

“An internal audit report dated March 2013 reported 87 members of staff as having been involved in the sale of fake stock cards to farmers at Masvingo provincial veterinary office.

“I could not ascertain the action taken by the ministry to recover the amount it had been prejudiced and the disciplinary action taken against the perpetrators.”

Management claimed evidence has vanished.

“The division is still working on modalities since the other fake stock cards in some districts were destroyed before full investigations were carried out,” it said in its response.

In evaluating the response, Chiri said the ministry should prioritise the matter as procrastinating could lead to further loss of evidence.

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