Unregulated and unregistered medicines are said to be flooding into the country. Some of the drugs, which are expired, are being smuggled into the country’s porous borders.
Smugglers are said to be attracted by the high prices being charged by pharmacies in United States dollars.
A pharmacist in Harare’s central business district, Samuel Gamanya said that the upsurge in unregulated medicines coincided with an acute shortage of drugs on the local market. Said Gamanya:
We have had unregulated drugs flooding the country since November 2018 after essential drugs became scarce, and later on when they were priced in the US dollar.
These drugs, we hear, have been smuggled through Chirundu and Forbes border posts.
Medical Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ) public relations officer Shingai Gwatidzo had this to say:
What is commonly observed in the informal markets in Zimbabwe is an influx of unregistered medicines that are smuggled into the country.
These end up being sold from unapproved premises such as street stalls, backpacks, tuckshops, unlicensed health shops, etc. Unregistered medicines, as their definition suggests, would not have been assessed to check their quality and safety profiles.
This means that those that end up buying unapproved medicines from unlicensed sources are putting their health at risk because they are not guaranteed safety, effectiveness, and of good quality.