KAMPALA, March 13 (Xinhua) -- The National Drug Authority (NDA) in Uganda on Tuesday announced that they have discovered counterfeit Hepatitis B vaccines in the country.
Helen Byomire Ndagije, the Director of Product Safety at NDA said to the press at their headquarters in Kampala that they have impounded some of these counterfeit vaccines from some of the places their officers visited randomly.
Hepatitis B is a potentially life-threatening liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). It is a major global health problem. It can cause chronic infection and puts people at high risk of death from cirrhosis and liver cancer.
NDA is a body established in 1993 to ensure the availability, at all times, of essential, efficacious and cost-effective drugs to the entire population of Uganda as a means of providing satisfactory healthcare and safeguarding the appropriate use of drugs.
"We have already impounded the counterfeit Hepatitis B vaccines from eight private health facilities and two immunization camps," said Ndagije.
She made it clear that they discovered the vaccines in areas around Kampala, Mbale, Mbarara and Entebbe towns.
She said NDA is taking this matter very seriously and already embarked on investigating the source of counterfeit Hepatitis B vaccines circulating in the Ugandan market.
Ndagije noted that most of the counterfeit vial vaccines have no manufacturing date while those with one indicated have their expiry dates exceeding 4 years.
She appealed to all private health facilities in possession of the counterfeit vaccine to immediately halt using them and take them to the nearest NDA office.
The NDA Regulatory Officer, Amos Atumanya said that they will advise the public on what to do next once they establish what are the contents in the counterfeit vaccines.
"This is very dangerous for our country. Many people have been rushing to get this vaccine and now this announcement of counterfeit vaccines worries us," said Jackie Mulema, a local business woman told Xinhua at the Kamwokya Bus stage in Kampala.