National Medical Stores Slams Auditor General’s Report

General Manager National Medical Stores(NMS) Moses Kamabare speaking to press on Tuesday

The National Medical Stores (NMS) has angrily reacted to a recent Auditor General’s report; and urged members of the public to “treat it with the contempt it deserves.”

The AG’s draft report recently let out unsettling claims against NMS, approved which is mandated to procure, store and distribute essential medicines and medical supplies to all public health facilities in the country.

Among the findings recently published in the media, the report claims that NMS has been supplying medicines to Uganda Cancer Institute at inflated prices.

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It states for instance that the Cancer institute procured Erlotinib 150mg tabs at a unit Price of Shs.12,296,772 whereas the Market Price was 1,295,915; and also Xeloda (Capecitatine) 500mg at sh. Shs. 1,728,000 when the Market Price was Shs. 77,755.

The report also claims that as a result, NMS caused the cancer institute a loss totaling at Shs 2billion in the last Financial Year; and that the drugs they have been supplying to the institute are of poor quality.

Speaking this morning to reporters in Kampala, the NMS General Manager Moses Kamabare wondered whether or not the Auditor General’s report was not a concoction by “some unpatriotic people.”

He clarified that all procurements of medicines at NMS are undertaken in strict compliance with the PPDA Act and Regulations.

“As provided in the said Regulations, all Prices of our products are comparable to Market Prices of Similar Products of the same Quality Standards,” he said.

Besides, the GM noted, NMS has been providing to the Cancer institute only medicine approved by the United States’ Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) and that all medicines supplied that are not USFDA approved are rejected by the Cancer Institute.

“The Unit Cost for USFDA approved medicines is much higher than the cost of medicines of other Quality Standards,” said Kamabare, illustrating, “The cost of Erlotinib 150mg tabs, which is USFDA approved on the Uganda market is not sh. 1million. The current Price is shs.10,510,000/= (and this is after the USD rate had come down). This is also true of Xeloda 500mg.”

On the alleged poor quality drugs, Kamabare said “All medicines imported by NMS are cleared by National Drug Authority as by Law required. NMS only maintains the said Quality once the medicines are in its warehouse, till they reach the customer. All Quality complaints are addressed to and handled by NDA.”

The GM, told reporters however, that it took the intervention of Prime Minister and the Minister of Health to resolve this misunderstanding between them and the Auditor General.

“The Hon. Minister of Health has now brought together NMS, NDA and UCI and there is now in place a clearly laid out mode of operation that is aimed at ensuring smooth operations between the Entities concerned to ensure increased access of Cancer medicines to patients in need.”


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