No Medicine Without Doctor's Note – MP


  • Pharmacies in Kenya may soon be prohibited from selling or dispensing medicine without a written prescription from a registered health practitioner if MPs adopt a proposal before parliament.

    Peter Keter, Nandi Hills MP, wants the Pharmacy and Poisons Act amended with the aim of stopping the sale of over-the-counter drugs.

    This is aimed at safeguarding the health of Kenyans and encouraging them to seek professional advice regardless of whether the sickness is minor or major.

    Nandi Hills MP, Peter Keter
    Nandi Hills MP, Peter Keter
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    The bill proposes that any person found to be selling over-the-counter drugs without a prescription is liable to a fine of Ksh 30,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years, or both. 

    Keter argues that the sale of over-the-counter medication has encouraged self-diagnosis which has led to the use of wrong medications at best and in some circumstances led to death.

    The Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya has warned that the use of drugs without prior medical evaluation makes a person prone to side-effects of the drugs. These drugs are readily available over-the-counter in Kenya.

    Self-medication in Kenya is on the rise due to the high cost of consultancy and medication in private and public hospitals.

    Some of the most abused drugs include painkillers, antibiotics, antimalarial drugs and natural herbs.

    Panadol, brufen, mara moja, priton and cough syrups are some of the most abused painkillers in Kenya. Amoxil and ambiclox are the most misused antibiotics and mwarobaini is the most misused natural herb.

    In 2019 Governor Alfred Mutua led Machakos County in a crackdown that saw 19 operators in the pharmacy business arrested. The governor said that pharmacists were stealing medicine from the government hospitals and directing patients to buy them from their pharmacies.

    Governor Mutua During a Crackdown on Pharmacies in Machakos
    Governor Mutua During a Crackdown on Pharmacies in Machakos
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