Health experts have warned drug regulator to be on the lookout for Oxytocin injection drugs banned in Uganda and could find their way to the Kenyan market.
The product manufactured by Gland Pharmaceuticals Limited in India was banned in Uganda with COMESA Competition Commission issuing a warning to its member states against using this particular brand of Oxytocin Injection.
The resolution by Comesa was after the commission established that the drug supplied in various countries was recalled from the National Medical Stores of Uganda, after quality failure.
The drug is said to have failed the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) standard specifications for visible particulate matter.
“The Commission has established that recalled drug is supplied in the other Member States and therefore wishes to alert the public and authorities in the Common Market on the possible risks of using the recalled batch of the above drug,” the Commission’s registrar Meti Demissie Disasa said in a notice.
Further, the Commission wishes to advise consumers who may have already used the recalled batch to seek medical advice from a qualified healthcare professional and report the case to the National Drug Authority or any other relevant authorities.
“The Commission wishes to request any person who establishes that the specific batch of the recalled drug is being sold in the COMESA Region to report the matter to the Commission and the affected persons to contact their national consumer institutions or any other body with the mandate on consumer protection in their countries,” says the notice.
“This particular manufacturer supplies Kenya with other products as well and if we are not keen we may have the already banned product in the market,” says Dr Davji Atellah, Secretary General Kenya Medical Practitioners Dentists Union.
He says the Pharmacy and Poisons Board must ensure that it protects Kenyans from any risk.
“I know it may be easy for the recalled drugs to find their way here but with proper surveillance by the PPB then we can arrest it, we must stay alert to avoid flooding our market with such drugs
Mostly, the drugs are always smuggled through Namanga, Loitoktok, Busia and Malaba and ferried using public vehicles and personal cars.
Most of these drugs are not always registered in the country.
The Pharmacy and Poisons Board, chief executive officer, Dr Fred Siyoi confirmed that the product is not used in the country while assuring Kenyans that it will not find its way to the market.
“We have other products by the manufacturer but not this particular one, it is not in the Kenyan market and it will not find its way here,” Dr Siyoi said.
Oxytocin injection is used to improve contractions during labour and reduce afterbirth bleeding. Currently, in the country, most hospitals are using oxytocin, as the first-line drug for preventing excessive bleeding after childbirth.
The bleeding is caused by either a placenta that is not expelled after birth or when the uterus fails to contract after delivery.
Defined as severe bleeding after childbirth, postpartum haemorrhage is the leading cause of maternal mortality worldwide, with stark disparities in survival rates between women in high-versus lower-income countries. More than half of these deaths occur within 24 hours after childbirth.
Each year, approximately 14 million women experience postpartum haemorrhage, resulting in 70,000 lives lost. In Kenya, it is the leading cause of maternal mortality, accounting for 34 per cent of maternal deaths.
The World Health Organisation(WHO) recommends oxytocin, misoprostol, ergometrine, carbetocin and injectable prostaglandins to improve the control of postpartum haemorrhage.