Secretary for Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Mr Nick Mangwana

The government has dismissed social media reports alleging that expired drugs are being dispensed for use by patients in the country.

In a statement to ZBC News, the Permanent Secretary for Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Mr Nick Mangwana says government takes the safety of its citizens and patients seriously, adding that there are systems in place to ensure that expired medication is safely disposed of and not used irregularly.

Mr Mangwana emphasized that expired medication is not for use by patients.

“Expired medication cannot be disposed of without a formal process that involves instituting a Board of Survey to scrutinise and verify the medicines targeted for destruction. The Board goes through all the expired medicines, item by item and provides the monetary value of such medication.

“The expired medicine is only destroyed after Treasury has authorised such destruction through the issuance of a Certificate of Destruction. The destruction is witnessed by the Environment Management Agency in conjunction Environmental Health Department of the Ministry of Health and Child Care and is also independently witnessed and documented,” said Mr Mangwana.

He said the whole process takes between six and nine months.

Mr Mangwana further said before destruction, the medication is kept on separate pallets in the same warehouse (but different aisle) with unexpired medication because of storage space limitations.

The Permanent Secretary revealed that expiries are normal to any health setting but have to be kept to a minimum.

“For the year 2017, and up to the third quarter of 2018, expiries in the country’s public health systems have consistently been below 1 percent of all commodities available. This is well within the World Health Organisation’s nationally acceptable loss of 1 percent.

“We are aware that during the tour of Natpharm facilities by the Acting President, Hon Vice President Chiwenga on 27 December 2018, some members of the media photographed boxes of expired medication in the designated aisle, which may have been the basis of the misrepresentation that expired drugs are being dispensed,” he said.

He said should anybody suspect that they have been issued with medication of questionable quality they should contact the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe at 106 Baines Avenue, P. O. Box 10556, Harare, Zimbabwe or as email to [email protected]