EDITORIAL: Drug losses avoidable


Kemsa chief executive Jonah Manjari. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) has told Parliament that strikes by medical personnel led to expired drugs whose value is estimated at Sh252 million in the 2016/17.

According to Kemsa chief executive Jonah Manjari, the strikes weakened demand, leading to the huge heap of rotting supplies. He has a point because some drugs are prescription-only types that require observation by doctors to be dispensed.

However, Kemsa ought to put its house in order and ensure that when such eventualities like strikes hit hospitals and other medical facilities, the losses can be reduced using the acceptable methods, according to the law. Again, the authority needs to explain why it was holding such a haul while the drugs would have been rotting at the hospitals, not within Kemsa premises.

Indeed, if there was seamless supplying, one episode of strike would not leave such a big loss, knowing that drugs take years to go bad.

It is disheartening when medicines estimated at hundreds of millions are reported to have expired while the public has, for many years, complained about a shortage of drugs, pushing them to resort to private facilities at exorbitant rates. Whichever way the government looks at it, such a loss is untenable.