Kenyans warned against marketing brands of COVID-19 vaccines

Kenyans warned against marketing brands of COVID-19 vaccines

The Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya (PSK) has warned personalities against marketing brands of COVID-19 vaccines to the public using social media pages.

In a statement to newsrooms, PSK President Louis Machogu termed it as unethical and a move disallowed by the Pharmacy and Poisons Board Regulations.

“The said marketing could also inadvertently lead to increase in proliferation of fake medicines in the country,” Dr. Machogu said.

The PSK boss further cautioned Kenyans on cases of global trade in falsified COVID-19 vaccines that target popularised brands.

He reiterated that it is against regulations to market brands of medicines to the general public making them seem better than registered medicines or even lacking side effects.

“You increase your chances of getting safe, efficacious and effective medicines by visiting your healthcare team at your regular registered healthcare facility and getting a treatment or vaccination plan,” the PSK President said.

PSK has urged all Kenyans including the authorities and regulators to remain vigilant, protect and uphold public interest. “We do not want to see the public exploited, times are hard and trying enough as it is already,” Dr. Machogu said.

The PSK statement comes hours after some Kenyans took to Twitter to endorse the Sputnik V vaccines.

Earlier in the day, Ministry of Health acting Director General Patrick Amoth said the Sputnik V vaccine is yet to be approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

According to Dr. Amoth, the vaccine has not been pre-qualified by WHO which means it may take a much longer time to be approved for emergency use in Kenya as it has not met the agreed standards as required.

“Any pre-qualified vaccine approval takes less than a week for emergency authorization use, it takes a longer time for a vaccine that is not pre-qualified by the WHO, since there are set out steps that have to be followed for such an approval,” Dr Amoth said.

He however noted that there is a possibility of a vaccine being used without approval by the WHO provided it had passed other stringent tests.

Dr. Amoth noted that the Moderna vaccine-widely used in the United States- was also yet to be approved by the WHO, but it had passed efficacy and safety tests in America.

Meanwhile, the Russian Embassy in Kenya in a statement dated March 29, said there is no agreement between the government of Kenya and Russia for the importation and use of the Sputnik V vaccine.

The embassy said the vaccine had been imported for use in Kenya by a private entity and advised the entities to follow all guidelines and rules set by the government and the Ministry of Health.

At the same time, the embassy asked all concerned parties to direct all questions related to the private commercial importation to its importers in the country.

Last week, the Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB) granted Emergency Use Approval to a private pharmacy in Kenya, with the vaccine which has a 93% efficacy rate becoming Kenya’s first private vaccine consignment.

According to reports, those interested in getting the vaccine would have to part with Ksh. 11,000 for the requisite two doses which would be administered 21 days apart.

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