Ministries trade accusations over regulation of food and drugs in the country

The National Assembly has given both the Ministries of Agriculture and Health one week to find a common ground after they failed to harmonize their differences over the proposed Kenya Food and Drugs Authority (KFDA) Bill, 2019.

The bill has been pending since 2019 and seeks to co-regulate food and drugs in the country.

The Ministry of Agriculture is opposed to such a move and has raised concerns that it poses more risks to the health of Kenyans.

“The competence of ministry of health is human health and we expect them to guide on risk assessment of various hazards that exist in food or environment, beyond that, the control and the management of making sure those hazards don’t get into our food system belongs to the agencies in the Ministry of Agriculture,” said Principal Secretary Pro. Hamadi Boga, Ministry Agriculture.

Presenting before the national assembly’s committee the two ministries traded accusations and counter-accusations.

It proposes that the regulation of food and medicines be merged and controlled by a single body.

The bill also proposes disbanding the Veterinary Services Board, the Pharmacy and Poisons Board and the Department of Public Health.

It would wrapp them up into one and managing their roles together with the roles of 10 other agencies, which included the Kenya Bureau of Standards, the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services, and the Government Chemist’s Department.

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Even though it proposes the disbandment of KPPB but it does not stipulate which organisation will execute its mandate of accreditation and licensing of pharmacies, regulation of manufacturing and monitoring of adverse drug reactions.

The bill also includes the regulation of tobacco by the same KFDA body, yet officials argue that tobacco and tobacco products are narcotics and globally and scientifically, they are not classified as health products.

This transition was certain to have cost lives in diverted spending, with the set up, alone, costing 45 x more than the nation’s entire diabetes programme of Sh85.7m, or the cost of setting up 300 new rural clinics.

According to Dr. Daniella Munene, CEO of Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya, this transition was certain to have “cost lives in diverted spending, with the set up, alone, costing 45 x more than the nation’s entire diabetes programme of Kh.85.7 million, or the cost of setting up 300 new rural clinics.”

Officials from both ministries are set to meet and iron out their differences before meeting the committee next week.

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