Natpharm supplies short-dated medicines

HARARE - Pharmaceutical Society of Zimbabwe (PSZ) has confirmed that the National Pharmaceutical Company (NatPharm) has of late been supplying short-dated medicines to the retail sector.

This follows alarm raised by a section of local pharmacies alleging that the national supplier was supplying medicines with a short shelf-life.

One of the retailers who requested anonymity claimed that NatPharm has only become a dumping site for international donors who have brought products that are about to expire.

“Some of the products are expiring in February 2019. At the end of the day you get a lot of stock that is expired. Zimbabwe has just been reduced to a dumping site by the donor community whose products have a short life,” he said.

Portifa Mwendera, the PSZ’s president, however, told the Daily News this should not be a cause for concern since most of the medicines that NatPharm supplies are on high demand and are usually consumed in the short term.

“NatPharm has a limited portfolio of medicines that they make available to the retail sector. These include diabetic medicines (insulin) and antiretroviral (ARV) drugs. They also have some lines that industry has noted are expiring in the next year; these include GSK products, Zinnat and Augmentics which are expiring in the short term,” he said.

“This is not much of concern as these medicines are likely to be used in the short term.”

NatPharm is the State drug procurement, warehousing and distribution entity under the Health and Child Care ministry.

Recently, there have been reports that some wholesalers are procuring drugs from NatPharm using RTGS payments yet they sell to the public in foreign currency.

Last month the Health ministry instructed NatPharm to start selling drugs directly to patients in local currency to cushion them from the predatory practices of most pharmacies.

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