Kemsa on the spot over Sh328m expired drugs


Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) Head Office Nairobi at Commercial Street, Industrial Area. FILE PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG

The Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) has been put on the spot for failure to disclose that it was holding expired drug stocks worth Sh328 million in the year ending June 2021.

Auditor-General Nancy Gathungu says the agency’s annual reports and financial statements did not indicate it had Sh191.9 million worth of expired stock financed by Kemsa Capital Fund and Sh136.4 million worth of drugs bought by third parties.

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The report indicates that the expired stock included Sh124.5 million worth of Covid-19 medicines and supplies.

She said the supporting schedule provided for the audit lacked crucial details such as the receiving dates, their location, date of manufacture, unit of the manufacture, batch number, pallet number, shelf life and reasons for expiry.

“In the absence of any justification and disclosure of expired stocks, the accuracy and completeness of the financial statements for the year ended June 30, 2021could not be confirmed,” Ms Gathungu said.

Kemsa has in the past been accused of supplying drugs to public hospitals that have either already expired or are approaching expiry even as hospitals across the country grapple with shortages of drugs and other key medical supplies.

The Senate early this year backed a Bill that seeks to end the monopoly of Kemsa in the delivery of drugs and equipment to county hospitals.

The Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Amendment) Bill 2021 was meant to change the law and give counties a free hand in choosing suppliers for drugs and medical kits for their hospitals.

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The law currently prohibits counties from procuring drugs outside the Kemsa.

The Bill, which lapsed in the 12th Parliament, would have hit the Kemsa sales and opened the doors for private drug firms if it had been passed.

The proposed amendment would allow counties to procure their own drugs at competitive rates and without looking at Kemsa to give them directions.

County governors have been pushing Parliament to amend the law and allow them to bypass Kemsa in procuring drugs and medical kits citing delayed supplies from the State agency.

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