KAMPALA – The National Drug Authority (NDA) on Wednesday, February 19, 2020 arrested seven people in an operation against selling fake animal drugs in western Uganda.
The suspects are accused of falsifying and selling unregistered Tick Burn Spray to dairy farmers in the districts of Kyenjonjo, Bushenyi, Mbarara, Kiruhura, Kazo, Ntungamo and Rukungiri.
The suspects, who were paraded before the media at NDA offices in Mbarara are Mr Gideon Ntwirenabo, a commercial officer for Kyamuhunga Town Council in Bushenyi, Mr Richard Ahabwe a resident of Kyamuhunga, Igara West in Bushenyi, Mr Kussein Rwaboona, a dairy development expert at Pearl Dairies Mbarara, Mr Bernadette Bonabana, Mr Joseph Byaruhanga, Mr Lambert Akuguzibwe and Ms Eronie Kyokusiima.
The head of veterinary at NDA, Dr Jeanne Muhindo, said on Wednesday that the operation which started on February 7 followed an incident in Kyenjonjo district where a farmer used falsified tick burn spray on his milking cow and it died after the spray was applied.
“The team confirmed that the product used on the farm (in Kyenjojo) was indeed tick burn which is not registered with NDA and therefore the need to investigate and the trace of the origin of the product,” Dr Muhindo said.
Mr Ntwirenabo and Mr Ahabwe are the main suspects in falsifying the drug, according to Dr Muhindo. Among other chemicals they allegedly buy DD Force, Boom Super, and 2 –in-1 Ocelamectin which are fumigants/pesticides, remove label and put label of ‘tick burn spray’ and sell to dairy farmers.
Dr Muhindo further said they deceive unsuspecting farmers and traders that the drug/acaricide is under trail. They tell others that the acaricide is smuggled from Kenya.
“In the crackdown on falsified and unregistered tick burn spray distribution and use in farms, we have been able to arrest seven people who are involved in this illegal business and they will be charged with falsifying public health products,” he said in Mbarara on Wednesday.
The key five suspects were on Wednesday taken to Kyenjojo for further investigations. Mr Akuguzibwe who was allegedly found transporting the drug and Ms Kyokusiima who was allegedly found with the stock were released on police bond.
“The falsified public health products are not supposed to be applied on soft skin, they are meant for hard surfaces like wood and they are used in fumigation of ants, bed bags, cockroaches and once applied on animal, it can cause death of livestock, reduce productivity of livestock especially milk reduction, it can cause skin allergies to humans exposed to it and cause colonic diseases like cancer to humans and also contamination of animal food with chemical residues.”
Dr Muhindo said products were bought from Container Village in Kampala before they were falsified and labelled tick burn. The acaricide is sold in shops close to dairy facilities in these districts.
The team recovered 127 bottles of tick burn in quantities of 1000 ml, 500 ml and 100 ml. They also recovered 1600 stickers of tick burn spray; 10 bottles of DD Force in quantities of 1000ml, 500ml and 100ml; eight empty boxes of Boom Super, 5135 pieces of measuring cups removed from DD Force, 13 bottles of 2-in-1 Ocelamectin, three sacks of offcuts and assorted stickers of counterfeited pesticide and fumigants.
The NDA regulatory Officer Dr Mathias Lukwago said their role is to ensure that all Ugandans access quality, safe and effective drugs through control of their manufacture, distribution and sale and use.
“Through our surveillance systems we were informed that there was circulation of counterfeited and unregistered tick burn spray which was causing serious side effects to both animals and humans who were exposed to this suspected product,’’ Dr Lukwago said.
They face charges of selling impure drug, falsifying public health products, possession and selling of unregistered drug, operating a business of pharmacist without a license, operating in unsuitable premises, and undertaking of research in drugs without a clinical certificate.
“We are taking the suspects to courts of law and once found guilty, court can decide to imprison them for a term not exceeding ten years or paying a fine not exceeding Shs 5 million or both,” Dr Lukwago said.