President Museveni bans private pharmacies operating within government hospital boundaries

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has directed the immediate closure of all private pharmacies operating within government health facilities.

The development comes a few days after the interdiction of Dr Baterana Byarugaba, the Mulago National Referral Hospital’s Executive Director on allegations of misappropriating of more than Shs 28b through different shoddy activities and schemes.

In a reference letter dated 8th February, 2022, the president directed all private pharmacies operating inside government hospitals to exit.

The president was however re-echoing an earlier directive he issued on 30th September 2019 that was not implemented.

“Further reference is made to the letter from the National Drug Authority (NDA) dated 7th October 2019 wherein you were requested not to facilitate any application of private pharmacies in your facilities for the licensing cycle for the year 2020,” reads part of the letter.

“The purpose of this letter is to communicate and inform you of the steps taken by NDA to implement the said directive,” the letter adds.

Subsequently, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, the Minister of Health directed National Drug Authority to implement the above directive.

Abiaz Rwamwiri, the spokesperson National Drug Authority confirmed that so far two private pharmacies that were operating within Mulago National Hospital have been closed.

“We received a directive from the Ministry of Health instructing us to close all private pharmacies within the government hospital. We immediately took action ordering all the private pharmacies that are operating in government hospitals.”

“And I am happy to report that the two pharmacies within Mulago are already closed. We also notified the administrators of all government hospitals not to enter in any understanding with private hospitals because we will not grant them any license as per the new government policy,” he added.

According to Rwamwiri, Mulago hospital has two private pharmacies, Mbarara (1), Hoima (1) and Kawempe (1) which will all have to be closed by the end of the week.

We tried to contact Celestine Barigye, the Executive Director, Mbarara Referral Hospital but he declined to disclose the fate of the private pharmacy being run at the facility by one Sam Rutahigwa.

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