As Malawi struggles to fully meet her essential drug requirements, the Central Medical Stores Trust (CMST) yesterday started destroying expired drugs and medical supplies worth about K1 billion.
The drugs and medical supplies are said to have been lying idle in the trust’s Lilongwe, Blantyre and Mzuzu warehouses over the years, according to CMST officials.
CMST director of corporate service David Nungu said the medical supplies include tablets, capsules, injections, vaccines, surgical dressings, surtures, surgical equipment, ophthalmic items, dispensary items, laboratory reagents and X-ray films, among others.
Nungu said the drugs expired due to general mismanagement, misprocurement and emergence of new drugs for some diseases.
“These products were procured some time ago in 2006 before CMST became a trust. We have no control of what happened but it may be a result of mismanagement and procurement of more than enough drugs which were not in demand,” he said.
Nungu said some of the drugs expired before the recent drug stockouts and could not have been used to reduce the drug shortages that Malawi has been experiencing.
He also said the drugs could endanger people’s lives if left undestroyed.
“We do not want to risk people’s lives. Neither do we want others to be tempted to sell these expired drugs,” said Nungu.
Malawi Health Equity Network (Mhen) executive director Martha Kwataine expressed dissatisfaction with the exercise.
“This is very unfortunate. It is so sad to find that while people are still struggling in hospitals without required medication CMST is destroying such an amount of drugs,” she said. n