Response to recent media reports about NDA and New Developments at National Drug Authority

                                      10th January 2018

National Drug Authority was established in 1993 by the National Drug Policy and Authority Statute which in 2000 became the National Drug Policy and Authority (NDP/A)Act, Cap. 206 of the laws of Uganda (2000 Edition). The Act established a national Drug Policy and National Drug Authority to ensure the availability, at all times, of essential, efficacious and cost-effective drugs to the entire population of Uganda, as a means of providing satisfactory health care and safeguarding the appropriate use of drugs.

NDA published new licensing guidelines for 2018 which raised concerns from some stakeholders that were published in the media. The objective of developing the new guidelines is to address the equitable distribution of drug outlets in Kampala in order to improve access to pharmaceutical products in the City. The current population estimates for Kampala City is 1,516,210 as per the population census of 2014 against the total licensed pharmacies in 2017 of 478 which translates to a pharmacist to population ratio of 1; 3,172. The computed ratio implies that Kampala is well served even in comparison to countries for example the UK which recommends  a ratio of pharmacist to population of 1;5000.

Action taken to address the mal-distribution of pharmacies and improve pharmaceutical service delivery.
1.    NDA will license new pharmacies in private hospitals in Kampala.
2.    Existing drug outlets are being encouraged to move to high density underserved areas in Kampala district like Kasokoso, Makerere Kivulu among others and other underserved areas country wide.
3.    Any outlet that has not been licensed in January 2018 will be asked to close and enforcement action will follow.
4.    No new drug shops will be licensed in Kampala and other municipalities since there are pharmacies already sufficiently serving the population.

There has been a public outcry that ticks in western and central Uganda cattle corridor districts are not responding to almost all the twenty six (26) acaricides on the Ugandan market. While the same drugs are still killing ticks in the northern and eastern districts of Uganda.
The tick resistance which has been confirmed through the scientific studies has been caused by; irrational use of acaricides, whereby there has been prolonged use of same type of acaricides, use of poor firm implements to spray and dip cattle, and not following the manufacturers’ direction on the use of acaricides.

Allegations in the media that the market is flooded with “fake drugs” are unfounded and the laboratory investigations conducted by the Authority on acaricide samples picked from the port of entry and from the market in 2017 indicated 92% passed the quality tests and only 8% failed.

Actions taken to respond to the challenges of Tick resistance
NDA has been a part of the presidential technical advisory committee on the tick resistance and is implementing the recommendations of the Committee including;

1.    Facilitating the Importation of one new acaricide molecule namely Eprinomectin for immediate emergency tick cleansing with concurrent acaricide performance studies for the first six months of the resistant ticks cleansing campaign.
2.    NDA has authorized the importation of six thousand (6000) litres of vectoclor and six hundred (600) liters of Bantik for cattle cleansing. In addition, NDA has been approving the importation of the East Coast Fever (ECF) vaccine called the Muguga cocktail vaccine

3.    Collaborating with the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industries and Fisheries (MAAIF), Local governments, academic and research Institutions to implement all the agreed actions.

1.    The problem of substandard and falsified medicines circulating on the market that is commonly reported is not unique to Uganda but rather a global problem which has to be constantly addressed.  However, there are also frequent cases of alarmist and misleading media reports which have no basis in fact, or represent uninformed opinions.
NDA has established quality assurance measures against substandard and falsified drugs on the market. These include;
2.    Good manufacturing practice (GMP) inspections of the factories which produce human and veterinary drugs. In 2017 we have inspected 190 foreign manufacturers and 15 domestic manufacturers and currently we have a total of 367 factories approved.
3.    Physical inspection of all consignments received at the designated ports of entry.
4.    Laboratory testing of medicines samples picked from health facilities, pharmacies and drug shops.
5.    Enforcement activities aimed at apprehending unscrupulous traders who are dealing in “fake drugs”.
The Authority continues to appeal to the public to report any problems with drugs on the market through social media or other available means.

Prior to entry of drugs into the country, inspections are carried out at the ports of entry these include; Nakawa, Busia, Malaba and Entebbe international airport. The Authority has embarked on the recruitment drive that has seen the number of personnel manning the ports of entry increase tremendously. For instance NDA now maintains a 24/7 import verification team at Entebbe Airport. In addition, NDA continues to collaborate with other government agencies such as URA and Uganda Police in order to curb cases of smuggling of medicines.  

National Drug Authority issued 1,752 licenses to pharmacy businesses across the country in 2017 and licensed over 8,000 Drug shops. In an effort to improve the availability, and accessibility of drugs, the Authority has increased the number of staff per region in its seven regions across the country namely; Central Region-Nakawa, West Nile Region-Arua, Western Region-Hoima, Northern Region-Lira, South Eastern Region-Jinja, South Western Region-Mbarara and Eastern Region-Tororo to enhance service delivery.  This effort is intended to bring the services closer to the people and improve the service delivery time for our clients.

NDA has introduced an online NDA Management Information System (NDAMIS) with support from Trademark East Africa under the umbrella of East African Community (EAC) which allows clients to easily access the NDA services on Importation of medicine, licensing of drug outlets and registration of medicines among others. NDA is also working with other government agencies to embrace the electronic single window system which the Government of Uganda has adopted to facilitate trade.

The majority of Ugandans seek healthcare from private health facilities including pharmacies and drug shops. We appeal to the public to be aware that when serious drug side effects occur from medicines obtained from the Private pharmacies and drug shops, they should report the cases to the nearest health worker or directly to NDA.  Patients and Health workers can report to NDA through; the social media platforms below;
    whatsapp on 0791415555
    twitter account; @UNDAuthority,
    facebook accountUganda National Drug Authority and;
    Email: and;
    The online reporting platform which can be accessed from the link; and via the NDA website


The Secretary to the Authority
National Drug Authority
Tel:       +256 414 344 053 / +256 790 603 482