The Pharmaceutical Society of Zambia says government does not consult to understand the nature of medicines which are in short supply before making orders, hence the expiration of excess drugs in storage.

The latest Auditor General’s report revealed that ARVs and malaria drugs worth K66 million expired in storage in 2016.

“During the period under review, various drugs such as anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs), laboratory reagents, Tuberculosis (TB) and Malaria drugs worth K66,801,022 involving one thousand seven hundred and sixty three (1,763) transactions which were kept at a rented warehouse in Makeni, Lusaka had expired. The expiry of the drugs was mainly attributed to change of treatment regime and failure to enroll targeted children. The expired drugs had not been disposed of as 31st June 2017,” read the report.

Reacting to the revelations in a statement sent to News Diggers!, Pharmaceutical Society of Zambia president David Banda observed that government needed to streamline donor support in order to avoid duplications.

“On behalf of Pharmaceutical Society of Zambia, time and again we have warned government on abrupt change of treatment regimens. The biggest problem is being pushed by donors who don’t take care of what was already planned for. At many occasions, they change treatment regimens in mid year when the procurement plan has already been approved. Change also should be gradual than being hurried which has resulted in overestimation. In logistics supply cycle, we depend on issue data, morbidity data and consumption data, however, mostly they just assume without looking what other factors maybe at implementation time. There is also little involvement of the pharmacist in their planning of new programs hence resulting in over procurement. We need also to streamline donor support to avoid duplications,” Banda stated.

“Every donor has their interest and government just accepts without taking stock to see who else is doing that. This end up of overstocking of certain products and under utilisation of available stock which end up expiring.”

He stated that there was need to involve pharmacists in the supply chain management.

“Going forward, the revelation by AG report make sad reading as from time and again, we have cried for more allocation to medicines however they end to waste. We give credit to system strengthening taking place at MSL now so that the products can be tracked at all levels. We also urge our membership handling these medicines to be diligent in their work and follow the laid down guidelines in handling of stocks. The government should consult widely and involve all the players in supply management chain especially the pharmacist who have been ignored for some time now. Expiry can be avoided and commodity security can be guaranteed,” stated Banda.