A consignment of donated cancer drugs held at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport will be released after the Kenya Bureau of Standards waived the Sh900,000 inspection fee it was demanding.
Ferdinand Mwangura who is the chairman of Henzo Kenya, a support group formed by the Leukaemia and Stomach Cancer patients, said the drugs are now in the DHL offices and will be cleared by the Kenya Revenue Authority customs after the Kenya Bureau of Standards waived the inspection fee on Monday.
“We expect that the drugs will be delivered to the Nairobi Hospital pharmacy this morning following the waiver by Kebs which had stopped the release until the inspection fee was paid in full.
“Since we expect similar shipments (of donated drugs) soon, we plan to open discussions with the Ministry of Health and National Treasury so that we are given a blanket waiver to avoid such hitches in future,” Mr Mwangura said on Wednesday.
The drugs, which are worth Sh375 million and are for the treatment of about 500 leukaemia and stomach cancer patients, have been lying at JKIA after the KRA demanded Sh5.6 million Railways Development Levy.
The director of Public Health Dr Shanaaz Sharif on Monday confirmed that that the tax was paid in full on Thursday but the chairman of the support group on Monday complained that the Kenya Bureau of Standards had stopped the release of the drugs until the inspection fee was paid.
He said that by Saturday, 40 patients in the group had run out of the drugs, exposing them to risks of developing resistance due to erratic use.
Mr Mwangura said the drugs cost is between Sh200,000 to Sh400,000 per patient per month, depending on the dosage, which is unique to each patient.
The drugs are donated by the Pharmaceutical Company Novartis through Max Foundation, under the Glivec International Programme (Gipap), which runs in Kenya and other low and middle-income countries globally.
Leukemia and stomach cancer patients drawn from the Nairobi, Aga Khan and Kenyatta National Hospitals have been accessing the drugs for free at the Nairobi Hospital pharmacy since 2001 when the programme was initiated.