Ecopharm and First pharmacies in Mulago National Referral Hospital were closed on Monday as government started a clampdown on all privately owned pharmacies in its hospitals.
Speaking to journalists, the National Drug Authority (NDA)’s PRO Abiaz Rwamwiri said that the two privately owned hospitals were evicted on orders of the Health Minister, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng.
The two have been operating inside Mulago hospital since 2018 and the NDA PRO said that they both did not have operating licenses.
Last week, the State House Health Monitoring Unit said that Ecopharm pharmacy had defaulted shs 135 million in rent by November 2021. The monitoring unit also revealed that First pharmacy had unpaid balances of shs 67.5 million.
In a February 8, 2022 letter, President Museveni directed that all private pharmacies operating inside government hospitals should vacate.
Subsequently, the Minister for Health directed NDA to implement the said directive.
Accordingly, NDA has requested the pharmacists in charge of the affected pharmacies to implement the directive with immediate effect.
The NDA PRO said that this communication was sent to all Executive Directors of National Referral Hospitals, directors of Regional Referral Hospitals, medical superintendents of general hospitals and incharges of health centre IIs, IIIs and IVs.
The development came after the Mulago Hospital Executive Director, Dr.Byarugaba Baterana was interdicted over shs28.8billion spent by the hospital but unaccounted for.
This stemmed from an ongoing investigation by the State House Health Monitoring Unit into allegations of abuse of office, embezzlement, causing financial loss and fraudulent false accounting.
Baterana was accused of allowing private pharmacies operate in Mulago Hospital illegally and to this, the pharmacies allegedly entered into a 10-year memorandum of understanding and tenancy agreements.