The government has threatened to revoke licenses of drug stores selling the subsidised malaria drug Artemether/Lumefantrine (ALU) above prices set by the government, after a survey uncovered serious violations.
The minister for Health and Social Welfare Dr Hadji Mponda said in a statement availed to The Guardian yesterday that the survey conducted in 125 pharmacies across the country found most of them selling the subsidised drug at between 1,500/- and 3,000/- instead of the set prices of 1000/- per adult dose and 500/- for children.
The survey was conducted between November and December last year in Dar es Salaam Mwanza, Mbeya and Arusha, Dodoma, Coast Region, Tanga, Iringa, Rukwa and Ruvuma regions in collaboration with the Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority.
“It is obvious that selling the subsidised drugs at high prices deny many people to access the medicines because they can not afford the inflated price, thus hindering government efforts to fight the disease in the country.”
Following the findings the government reminded private drug dealers to observe the indicative prices of 1000/- for adult dose and 500/- for children or lose their licences.
He directed regional and district council health departments to make close follow up of private pharmacies to establish those violating the prices set by the government and take appropriate action against them.
He also called upon wananchi to report the culprits to relevant legal organs, offices of regional medical officers, district medical officers and TFDA.
In April last year the government announced reduction of the price of the Artemisinin-based malaria drugs to 1,000/- per dose to be charged by private health service providers, pharmacies and drugstores throughout the country.
Previously, the Artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) cost 15,000/- per dose.
The price relief was announced by Arusha Regional Commissioner Isidore Shirima at the climax of World Malaria Day commemoration held in the northern Tanzania city at national level.
Shirima said the move was in line with the launch of a two-year programme that will ensure malaria drugs are available at affordable prices in all drug outlets in the country.
The RC stressed that the Artemether/Lumefantrine (ALU) drugs would now be available in private hospitals, health centres, pharmacies and accredited drug dispensing outlets (ADDO) at 1,000/- only per dose.
According to Shirima, the subsidised drugs will be identified through special packages bearing a “green leaf” symbol in every health service delivery as well as drug shops.
“The reason for stamping the symbol on the package is to differentiate it from other drugs which are not subsidised by the government.”
He called on people to report to government authorities at ward, district or regional level pharmacies found selling the drug at a price higher than 1,000/-.
The RC explained that malaria was a leading killer disease in Tanzania whereby 80,000 people die every year because of the disease, calling for more efforts to address the prevalence.