Expired ARVs flood market


There is fear that people on antiretroviral therapy in some remote areas in the country are buying expired antiretroviral (ARV) drugs from unlicensed suppliers.

This revelation has come after police in Balaka on Wednesday arrested a man who was found with 79 bottles of expired ARVs.

The man confessed that he administered the treatment to clients from Ulongwe, Balaka, who live far from government health facilities.


Balaka police publicist, Edith Kachotsa, confirmed that they have, so far, arrested Bwanali Zaibu, who was found with the expired ARVs. The suspect also revealed that there are other people who are in the illicit business.

“He revealed that he got the drugs from Peter Ngamaza who works for Kalembo Health Centre in Balaka. We have also arrested Ngamaza who was also found with drugs such as ORS, dosages of LA among others,” Kachotsa said.

Ministry of Health spokesperson, Joshua Malango, said the ministry is not aware of the situation.


“The ARVs are given for free by the Government of Malawi; so, if anyone is caught selling them, they should be arrested. We will investigate the matter and bring to book those that are selling the drugs. We ask people to report anyone selling the drugs,” Malango said.

Commenting on the availability of ARVs on the black market, Malawi Health Equity Network Executive Director, George Jobe, described the business as a danger to life.

He called on authorities to put in place punitive measures to end the illegal business.

“We cannot stop people from stealing government drugs if they continue to get non-custodial sentences when they appear in court. We need to start being serious because a lot of money is being lost through theft of drugs,” Jobe said.

Jobe further advised people on ARV treatment to avoid buying drugs from parallel markets, saying the tendency has the potential to create drug resistance, which is a health hazard.

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