HONEYBEE Pharmacy has wondered why the Zambia Medicines Regulatory Authority (ZAMRA) did not invite it to witness tests being conducted on the condoms and gloves it supplied to government.
And Honeybee says it has not yet received a letter from ZAMRA directing it to recall defective gloves and condoms.
Meanwhile, Honeybee Pharmacy Director Zackir Motala yesterday used his WhatsApp status to post surprising screenshots of his various conversations with his business partner Chomba Kaoma, in circumstances which were not clear whether by accident or not.
In one of the screenshots, Motala was complaining that ZAMRA messed up during the Parliamentary Public Accounts hearing and in another screenshot, Kaoma was advising him to keep certain information a secret: “Keep this as a secret, not even SASA should know,” Kaoma wrote to which Motala asked “why?”
Motala who did not delete the messages he posted on his status also posted a picture of himself shaking hands with President Lungu during a state function.
Last week, ZAMRA wrote to Honeybee Pharmacy directing them to immediately recall defective condoms and gloves, which had been in circulation since September, 2020.
This followed a humiliating appearance before the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee last Wednesday where Medical Store Limited managing director Chikuta Mbewe admitted that Honeybee supplied sub-standard condoms and gloves that were distributed four months ago without conducting any quality assurance tests.
Mbewe also admitted that the said condoms and gloves were not safe for human consumption given that they failed quality tests at Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS), further telling the Committee that these items were still in circulation.
When asked why the condoms and gloves were not recalled despite failing tests at ZABS, ZAMRA director laboratory services Bonaventure Chilindi, who was representing his Director General Bernice Mwale, said his institution was still waiting to receive ‘confirmation’ test results from a laboratory in Zimbabwe.
In an interview, however, Motala wondered whether the condoms and gloves which were tested by ZABS were the ones supplied by his company.
He also wondered why ZAMRA sat on the ZABS report for such a long time.
“First of all, I would like to draw your attention to when procedure was followed on the recall of paracetamol 500mg and 100mg. If we were a company that was only after making money, we would not have complied with the directive. The recall of paracetamol 500mg and 100mg was to the value of almost US$600,000 to US$700,000. We complied and replaced. We demonstrated our capacity and our pure intention. The PAC meeting in which the information by ZABS that condoms and gloves failed the test, why wasn’t procedure followed in this case? Why was ZAMRA sitting on the report? Why was the test conducted without the supplier present to witness? Was the test really conducted? How do we know it was our product? What was the objective to release the report in a PAC meeting in full view of the press?” wondered Motala.
“If the report was shared and a directive to recall was made, do you think we would have failed to replace it? The value of paracetamol was six to seven times more than the value of condoms and gloves. I am giving you a background of when the procedure was followed, we exhibited two traits. We complied. We demonstrated our commitment to supply quality products. We replaced the entire batch at a cost of US $600,000 to US $700,000. If our intention was warped, would we have done that? I haven’t seen that (letter). I am sure they will deliver it. But again, how does it find itself in the media before reaching us? What is the objective? And I think we have been taken for granted for too long!”