There have been several misguided attacks, particularly on social media, directed against the National Drug Authority (NDA) regarding its role and how it carries out its regulatory mandate.
The most recent misinformation came after the NDA released a statement on June 14 informing the public that it had not undertaken any evaluation or endorsement of Covidex, nor received any requests from the innovator of Covidex, a drug that was safe. the market with allegations that it is treating Covid-19.
In the same statement, the NDA said it has licensed a number of products from Jena Herbals (U) Ltd, the makers of Covidex who are familiar with drug development and authorization processes prior to production and sale. of herbal medicines.
The statement also pointed out that on the morning of June 14, the NDA met with a team of Jena Herbals led by Professor Patrick Ogwang who agreed to go through the necessary processes in accordance with the NDA Law and, indeed, Professor Ogwang has issued the statement acknowledging the errors made during the leak. herbal drug on the market and agreed to follow the guidelines set by the NDA.
Professor Ogwang has been a close partner of the NDA, he helped develop the herbal medicine guidelines for research, and we have licensed several of their herbal products.
When NDA learned of the sale of Covidex and requested a meeting with its innovators, the intention was not to stop production but to ensure that innovators follow a simple established regulatory procedure to ensure that the drug meets the minimum standards for the safety of all Ugandans.
Of course, we all appreciate that the Covid-19 pandemic has put the public in a desperate state that we will do anything to survive, it’s human. But we must also understand that the NDA has a duty to ensure that any drug on the market is authorized, of good quality, safe and effective, as required by the National Drug Policy and Authority Act cap 206.
Some people condemn the NDA for its intervention, claiming that the drug in question actually relieves symptoms of Covid-19. When the NDA steps in, they’re not saying that this particular drug doesn’t work, no!
This is to ensure that it is of good quality, safe and effective and that it meets minimum standards. The process of developing a drug is not like that of producing laundry detergent; there are human risks and these must be avoided.
I would like to let those who think the NDA is here to suppress local drug and herbal research / innovation to know that our board has a representative from the Uganda Herbalist Association and we have a unit. full-fledged herbal medicine that engages, trains and provides technical support. to manufacturers of medicinal plants to improve the quality of their products.
Over the past three years, the NDA has notified / authorized over 190 local herbal products, provided technical support to over 20 local herbal medicine manufacturers, and this year we have organized over 20 training for herbalists through their respective medicinal plant associations.
We have also collaborated with the Industrial Training Directorate of the Ministry of Education to develop the Level One to Three Herbalist Assessment and Training Module, which covers the production of medicinal plants from the garden to the finished product.
To further support herbal research, we have established a Memorandum of Understanding with different institutions and universities, including the Natural Chemotherapeutic Research Institute, Makerere University, Mbarara University of Science and Technology, and University of Gulu to promote research and development of herbal medicine.
To encourage the production of local medicinal plants, the NDA only charges 10,000 Shs to notify a local product, compared to $ 250 (890,000 Shs) for imported medicinal plants. We remain committed to providing the highest level of drug regulatory service to ensure the quality, safety and efficacy of drugs and health products used in Uganda.
Mr. Rwamwiri is Public Relations Officer of the National Drug Authority