The sale of subsidised AIDS drugs back to the developed world by the National Medical Stores demeans our efforts in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
In an article in The New Vision of May 15, â€œNMS to export imported AIDS drugsâ€, NMS officials contend the deal is lucrative and clean. This annoyingly shows the level of ignorance in regard to the reasons why drugs are subsidised for the developing world. It also brings into question the very existence of a body like NMS in Uganda.
Just how lucrative is NMS in doing business compared to the private pharmaceutical companies it intends to sell these drugs to? The fact is, these private firms could never have gotten these drugs from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) at this subsidised rate.
Do any of these officials have an idea of the socio-economic impact of such alarming levels of infection?
Well, AIDS activists are bent on advocating for lowering the cost of these drugs. Luckily, drug companies, see the point too. It now doesnâ€™t surprise me why another small pharmaceutical company (Landmark) would be contracted to negotiate for AIDS drug prices on behalf of NMS.
The NMS in Botswana offers free AIDS drugs to its citizens, yet gets these drugs at a much lower cost because GSK couldnâ€™t detect any potentially lucrative behaviour in this arrangement. Botswana negotiates for these drugs as a country in need. If it had narrow-minded fellows in positions of responsibility like Uganda, it would suffer much more greatly. But as it is, Botswana has its citizens at heart.
Because of poverty, we canâ€™t afford generic drugs for AIDS sufferers in Uganda. Is NMS Uganda a totally private firm with no subsidy from the Government but just being fronted to exploit the AIDS situation in our country?
Dr Patrick Ndase
SIRâ€” I could not believe my eyes when I read that NMS plans to export imported Aids drugs. Sell the drugs to the sufferers at subsidised prices!
Name withheld on request
Has National Medical Stores lost sense?