ZAMBIA Medical Association (ZMA) says it is appalled by the Zambia Medicines and Medical Supplies Agency’s admission that it erroneously distributed Honeybee drugs, stating that people are going to lose faith in such institutions.

Zambia Medicines and Medical Supplies Agency (ZAMMSA) acting Director General Chipopa Kazuma admitted that Honeybee drugs were erroneously distributed to Kabwe and Kasama General Hospitals, and have since been recalled.

In an interview, ZMA president Dr Crispin Moyo said it was scary that an institution like ZAMMSA could endanger people’s lives by distributing drugs which were in quarantine.

“We are equally very disappointed and we are scared that drugs which have not gone through quality assurance [test] can actually end up being distributed to hospitals in Kabwe and Kasama. What is very disappointing is that we know that an organisation like ZAMMSA, they are supposed to have adequate checks within their system to ensure that all drugs that are going out there meet the minimum standard and also that they are fit for consumption. How did the drugs that were in quarantine get released? Because [when] a drug is put in quarantine it means that it has not yet passed the minimum requirement for distribution to the public,” Dr Moyo said.

“The fact that they ended up distributing drugs out of quarantine into the supply chain system is very scary. We do not know what other drugs have ended up being distributed in the same manner and if it were not for the media to pick this out, this would have gone unnoticed. Possibly, we were going to end up with people consuming these drugs and having people getting injured, disabled and even dying from consuming these drugs because they were not certified. So we are calling on ZAMMSA to put in adequate measures in place to ensure that they are able to see what is happening with their supply chain.”

Dr Moyo said ZAMMSA should be held to account and the perpetrators needed to be brought to book.

“Primarily, issues that they need to consider are patient safety because it comes first. So if we are not able to assure our people that what we are distributing is of quality, people are going to lose faith in these institutions and that will be very unfortunate. Where do [members of] the public run to for them to know that the drugs that they are consuming are meeting the minimum standards?” asked Dr Moyo.

“So we are appalled, we are disappointed and we want to call upon ZAMMSA to be accountable. Let us have accountability and transparency over this issue. Let us know who did what and let measures be taken for the people that are responsible for this situation. Saying sorry on its own is not enough. Measures have to be taken to ensure that culprits are brought to book.”