Kenya is reportedly facing an imminent shortage of medicines and pharmaceutical products as importers engage in a row with the government.
Companies that import and distribute medicines and pharmaceutical products have announced a suspension of medicines as they demand the government rescinds a new directive that subjects their products to double inspections.
Per the new directive goods being imported into Kenya must have a pre-export verification certificate known as Pre-export Verification of Conformity (PVoC).
The PVoC is a conformity assessment certificate which is issued to exporting countries before the products are brought into the country.
From October this year every importer must have their goods pre-inspected before leaving the country of export (PVoC).
This pre-inspection will cost USD $250 per product and will be done by Kenya Bureau of Standards appointed companies like Bureau Veritas, SGS or Intertek.
The Kenya Pharmaceutical Distributors Association Chairman Kamamia Murichu told Daily Nation newspaper that “This thing is already affecting us. Over the weekend, we saw seven containers sent back to India because the consignment did not have the PVoC.”
Kenya has about 35 local drug manufacturers but imports meet the bulk of local demand.
The Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB) said the industry brought in pharmaceutical imports worth $728 million last year.
With the ongoing row and suspension of imports, the Kenyan pharmaceutical industry could be hit badly with shortage.
Drug import constitute about 80 per cent of all imports into Kenya, according to officials.