Medical for Quality Healthcare in Zambia (MQHZ) has accused the Zambia Medicine Regulatory Authority (ZAMRA) of failing to regulate and control how medicines and allied substances are being made available to the general public.

In a statement, Monday, MQHZ director general Dr Quince Mwabu observed that drugs were found in the wrong hands whilst the regulatory authority remained unconcerned about the dangerous trend.

“It is very disheartening that ZAMRA has so far failed to regulate and control how medicines and allied substances are being made available to the general Zambian population. Today, in Zambia, drugs easily find their way into wrong hands, while the regulatory Authority has mostly elected to remain unconcerned about this dangerous national trend. Recent revelations that some people who are HIV negative are taking ARVs to make themselves ‘high’ have made very sad reading! MQHZ challenges ZAMRA to tell the nation where HIV negative people are getting ARVs from. We have also seriously observed that Zambia has so many well-stocked drug stores planted very close to health facilities amidst shortages of drugs in hospitals and clinics. Even this sad phenomenon has not moved the Authority into action; it is business as usual,” Dr Mwabu complained.

He expressed disappointment that ZAMRA had turned a blind eye to illegal stores that sold illegal and expired drugs.

“We urge ZAMRA to investigate these drug stores and give guidance on the allowed distance between health facilities and drug stores. We also urge the Authority to give comment on the ownership of these suspicious drug stores situated very close to the clinics and hospitals. MQHZ is further disturbed that ZAMRA has turned a blind eye to illegal drug stores selling illegal drugs, inappropriate medicines and to some extent expired drugs. Some of these drugs gain entry into the country through our porous borders. This poses a serious danger to the health of our people. We invite all citizens to join MQHZ in demanding for quality healthcare in Zambia because a healthy nation is a productive nation,” stated Dr Mwabu.