MILENGE PF member of parliament Mwansa Mbulakulima says Honeybee-supplied defective medicines, test kits and condoms are weapons of mass destruction.
And Mbulakulima says he does not understand why Honeybee is being stubborn instead of showing remorse by asking for forgiveness.
Meanwhile, Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC) chairperson Howard Kunda has urged the Ministry of Health to rethink its position on whether or not Honeybee Pharmacy can be trusted to supply medicines.
On January 28, the Zambia Medicines Regulatory Authority (ZAMRA) wrote to Honeybee Pharmacy directing them to recall 19 more products from the market including pregnancy test kits and vaginal inserts.
Commenting on this in an interview, Mbulakulima insisted that the supply of defective health products was tantamount to genocide, adding that such kits were actually weapons of mass destruction.
“I was not emotional when I said genocide, I think I was so much in it and I was overwhelmed and overtaken at the negligence and abuse and the lack of care by the people who are assigned to take care of the lives of the Zambian people. In the early stage of our deliberations, they sort of took it lightly, ZAMRA, Ministry of Health until when we probed it further and then we discovered that there was more to it and then they started to open up. They were quite defensive and we must be very grateful that the media has been very helpful in this regard. If you ask me today whether I should repeat the same terminology, I would say yes,” Mbulakulima said.
“I will add another terminology which others have been using crime against humanity. I think these two fit in very well, genocide and crimes against humanity. When I raised that, the distribution was done in September and then we had the meetings last month in January, I realised so many people have consumed the medicine. There are men who have used condoms believing that they are protected not knowing that those things are not effective. So you can see that the innocent people are affected and they don’t even know where the disease has come from. Now if you add people that have used condoms, gloves, medicines, how many people are affected? It is a big number. If anything, you can add another word ‘these are weapons of mass destruction’
, this is what I meant, the word now sits very well.”
And Mbulakulima said he did not understand why Honeybee was being stubborn.
“I don’t understand why Honeybee is being stubborn instead of being remorseful, very submissive, then they want to fight the media, they called PAC corrupt. Surely, that was uncalled for. We are doing the job on behalf of the Zambian people. There is no one in this country who can corrupt PAC, even the selection is carefully done. So Honeybee, if they are wrong, the best thing is to own up, try to amend, ask for forgiveness, people will tolerate them. So it goes beyond Honeybee today it might be them, another one comes up. So let us have a thorough review of these people who have led us this far,” he said.
Asked if Honeybee Pharmacy should be trusted to supply more health kits, Mbulakulima said all companies which supply drugs must be probed.
“I wouldn’t like to be personal. But what I would say is that let us be very careful as a country. For those of us who have been assigned the national responsibility to take care of the lives of the people in any manner should be very cautious. This is an eye opener. Companies that deliberately abrogate the rules that are just carrying profits in their mind should not be allowed to deal with government. Let us probe all the companies that have been supplying. We can even go further going to the manufacturers, how credible are they? How caring are they? How honest are they?” asked Mbulakulima.
Meanwhile, in a separate interview, Kunda said people’s lives cannot be put at risk
“The country deserves the best. We cannot play with the lives of our people we cannot put them at risk by not providing the required medicines that are supposed to be taken by the people. It is very sad in the sense that even the private sector, we have seen chemists were getting recalls by ZAMRA which I think we just need to put measures that will ensure that whatever medicine that is going out there to be consumed is correct to the extent that it can be used by the people. I think we need to put surveillance systems in place just to make sure that, that purpose is achieved because we are dealing with the lives of the people and that is cardinal to take note of,” said Kunda.
“I think for us as PAC and as person I think I have done my part, we have done our part to look at this issue and deal with it. Issues to do with Honeybee, I think are away so much and I think those people who are tasked to deal with this matter, the Ministry of Health, ZAMRA, Medical Stores Limited and law enforcement agencies, I think they should now see what needs to be done in as far as issues to do with can we trust this company now to deal with these matters around supply of medicines. I think it will be very important for institutions to do the right thing for our country to benefit from their expertise. And what we are doing now is to come up with recommendations and after the House has debated and adopted, I am sure it will be a public document.”
Meanwhile Zambians expressed outrage following the announcement that ZAMRA had recalled 19 more Honeybee supplied medical products which were being used in government health institution.