The Kenya Medical Supplies Agency is on the spot following revelations that its employees have been colluding with rogue traders supply expired drugs to the market.
The concerns emerged when police and the Pharmacy and Poisons Board found a consignment of surgical gloves, X-ray protective gowns, drugs, surgical syringes and sutures marked as government property at a house in Parklands, Nairobi.
The supplies were seized and a man arrested. The officers also found equipment used to repackage drugs and change the expiry date on the packets.
Mr Joshua Plekwa, a senior inspector at the board, said most of the drugs found at the house had expired.
Those involved in the trade appear to have links with insiders at Kemsa, who make it easy for their requests for drugs to be given away for free at medical camps.
Kemsa’s policy is that drugs given in such camps should still have a shelf life of six months and cannot therefore be distributed to hospitals.
Expired medicines could be toxic or ineffective.
The agency has consequently been invited to a meeting with the Senate Committee on Health after concerns were raised on its management of drugs and other supplies.
Lawmakers want Kemsa acting chief executive Fredrick Wanyonyi to provide an explanation to the report by the auditor-general that showed the agency has stocks of expired drugs valued at Sh323 million.
He is also to inform senators during the Thursday meeting the steps Kemsa takes when buying drugs, avail lists of medicines, medical supplies and diagnostic devices provided at lower prices by donors and partners.
Mr Wanyonyi is expected to provide a list of drugs, medical and diagnostic devices classified as essential medical supplies.
The auditor-general said in a report tabled in the National Assembly that Kemsa could not explain why it stocked expired drugs yet hospitals countrywide face shortages.
Kemsa included the expired medicine in its stock valued at Sh11.7 billion for the 2016/17 financial year.
Mr Edward Ouko’s report raised alarm about Kemsa’s failure to collect Sh2.3 billion it is owed by counties and Sh1.1 billion by the national government through the health ministry.