The National Drug Authority (NDA) has warned the public against the existence of fake counterfeit hepatitis B vaccines in public and private hospitals.
According to Ms Donna Kusemererwa, the NDA secretary, they have impounded counterfeit hepatitis B vaccines from Mbarara Community Hospital, Devine Mercy, Mayanja Memorial Hospital, Family Doctors’ Clinic, Ntungamo, Mbarara City Clinic, UMC Hospital, Bukoto, Malcom Health Care, Kisasi, and Kampala Medical Chambers on Buganda Road in Kampala.
“The exercise further led to impounding of more counterfeit hepatitis B vaccines from immunisation camps at Mbale Central Market managed by unscrupulous personnel and others at Mbarara University camp, which was run by Sanyu Medical Centre, Katabi- Entebbe,” Ms Kusemererwa said in a statement issued on Tuesday.
NDA says it has registered a number of Hepatitis B vaccine brands for supply to Uganda from various manufacturers, including Serum Institute of India. This brand is available in two registered pack sizes, i.e. 1ml ampoules and 10ml multi-dose vials.
Ms Kusemererwa said the 1ml ampoule pack is supplied to the private market and is identified by a white label with two green bands at the top and bottom part of the label, respectively.
She added that the 10ml multi-dose vial supplied to government is identified by a white label with two purple bands at the top and bottom part of the label, respectively.
“The one supplied to the government also bears the words, “Government of Uganda, Not for sale”. The registered importer of this product is Norvik Enterprises Ltd, located on Bombo Road,” she added.
Ms Kusemererwa said they are conducting further investigations to establish the source of the product.
“The available information however shows that all facilities found with the suspected counterfeit had bought them from unlicensed dealers with fake addresses on the invoices/receipts. Some suspects have been arrested and are currently held at police to assist in investigations and others have recorded statements at the respective police stations,” she added.
NDA also appealed to all private health facilities in possession of the 10 ml multi-dose Hepatits B vaccine vials manufactured by Serum Institute of India to immediately halt using them and take them to the nearest NDA office.
“We urge all healthcare practitioners/providers and the public to be vigilant and report any suspicious drugs, dealers and drug outlets, and to desist from purchase of drugs from hawkers and any unlicensed medicine suppliers,” she said.
NDA said the genuine 10 ml vial of Hepatitis B vaccine from Serum Institute of India has the following features; batch number, manufacturing and expiry dates with a shelf-life of 3 years, two purple bands (top and bottom) on the label and only available in government health facilities and with the mark “Government of Uganda, Not for Sale”