Zambia to withdraw unlicensed COVID-19 medicines

Capsules left lying on table, with open pill bottle

The Zambian government on Monday called on the country’s medicines regulator to withdraw all unlicensed medicines being used in the treatment of COVID-19.

Minister of Health Jonas Chanda said he has received reports that some people were being given medicines that have not been approved or licensed for use, saying this could cause complications in people taking such medicines.

Speaking after he toured Maina Soko Military Hospital in Lusaka, the country’s capital which has been designated as a new COVID-19 isolation facility due to increasing numbers, the Zambian minister urged the Zambia Medicines Regulatory Authority (ZAMRA) to rise to the occasion and withdraw such medicines.

He further said the use of local home-based remedies should not replace conventional medicines, adding that they should be used only as a complementary therapy.

The military hospital has been designated as a new COVID-19 isolation facility after the two other facilities in the city reached full capacity due to a surge in new cases during the second wave of the pandemic. It will be used for the admission of patients with moderate or less critical symptoms.

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