The Central Medical Stores Trust (CMST) on Thursday said it spends millions of kwacha every month to pay rentals for some of its warehouses which have expired medical supplies.
Speaking in his address to members of the Parliamentary Health and Population Committee, CMST chief executive officer Feston Kaupa said the expired drug stocks were procured around 2006 before the trust was formed from the previous Central Medical Stores (CMS).
Kaupa said the trust will soon burn the expired drugs to clear storage space for its new drug supplies. He said storage space is one major challenge facing the trust in Malawi.
“We are currently collecting details of all the expired drugs and those which are about to expire in our warehouses. These are drugs which the trust found when it was formed. We expect the amount of the expired drugs to be huge.
“International standards provide that expiry of up to five percent is acceptable, but anything beyond that is unacceptable. We see ourselves going into unacceptable levels. We are saying this in good time so that people are not surprised when we are boarding off the drugs,” said Kaupa.
Some of the expired medical supplies in the warehouses include thousands of units of plaster of Paris (POP), cotton wool and tubular bandages. The warehouses also have oversupplied X-ray envelops which the committee members noted that were “abnormally” procured around 2006 as they are just lying idle.
Among others, the parliamentary committee members toured the national pharmaceutical warehouse which is under construction at the trust’s headquarters in Lilongwe.