The government has flatly denied reports that it is dispensing expired drugs for use by patients. The permanent secretary in the Ministry of Information and Publicity, Nick Mangwana told ZBC News that the government takes the safety of its citizens seriously. Mangwana had this to say
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.
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.