FORMER Pharmaceutical Society of Zambia (PSZ) president Jerome Kanyika says more action needs to be taken on Honeybee Pharmacy than just the revocation of the company’s license.

And Kanyika has called for an investigation to ascertain whether the rise in Covid-19 deaths is connected to the consumption of defective drugs.

In an interview Kanyika said the step by the Zambia Medicines Regulatory Authority (ZAMRA) was long overdue and called for law enforcers such as the Anti Corruption Commission to further effectively investigate the matter as the supply of defective drugs was a criminal act.

“Firstly, I think according to the law regulators they have done what they were supposed to do a long time ago by revoking the licence, which they have delayed to revoke. Again, we should not end at just revoking the licences, we need now other law enforcers to come in and prosecute these people because this is an issue of criminal element. You cannot deliberately give substandard medications while you know very well the drugs are not okay. That in itself is criminal in nature. So ZAMRA did whatever they could do by revoking the licence that belongs to that institution, but now what about the individuals who were the perpetrators or the owners of that institution, they need to be prosecuted,” Kanyika said.

“So, this is where we need other law enforcers like the Anti Corruption and the Zambia Police to come in and get those people for deliberately subjecting the 17 million Zambians to consume drugs that are substandard. We need to see more and more people being punished for such activities, because they are subjecting the Zambian people to consume the medications.”

And Kanyika called for an inquiry to see if the increased number of deaths related to Covid-19 had to do with the consumption of defective drugs.

“We need to investigate and know exactly if truly people are dying due to COVID-19 or people are dying due to consumption of the substandard medication. Because you cannot ascertain right now having in mind that the 17 million Zambians were subjected in terms of consuming substandard medication which were supplied by institutions like Honeybee and other institutions,” said Kanyika.

“So we cannot tell that those drugs didn’t affect the people but we can strongly say that people were subjected to consuming this and the number of deaths has increased, don’t you think the number of deaths have increased because of the type of medications people are given once they go to these facilities? So that is also one of the reasons and we need to do a clear study to know exactly how many people who have died were affected by these medications that were given from September till today.”