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Ministry denies patient's damaging claims about its diabetes drugs

Thursday February 18 2016

Health Cabinet Secretary Cleophas Mailu and Old Mutual Foundation chairman Peter Muthoka cut the tape to officially open the newly refurbished Accident and Emergency Wing at the Kenyatta National Hospital on February 3, 2016 flanked by Othaya MP Mary Wambui(left) and KNH CEO Lily Koros (right). Dr Mailu has said diabetes drugs issued by the ministry are safe. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Health Cabinet Secretary Cleophas Mailu and Old Mutual Foundation chairman Peter Muthoka cut the tape to officially open the newly refurbished Accident and Emergency Wing at the Kenyatta National Hospital on February 3, 2016 flanked by Othaya MP Mary Wambui(left) and KNH CEO Lily Koros (right). Dr Mailu has said diabetes drugs issued by the ministry are safe. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

PAUL OGEMBA
By PAUL OGEMBA
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The Health ministry has denied reports of inadequate medicine to cater for the more than two million diabetes patients.

The ministry Wednesday said claims by a patient that it failed to provide quality drugs were untrue. It also dismissed reports that it was not inspecting medicine.

“The insulin the patient claims failed was part of a batch subjected to analysis and found to be safe. It is, therefore, not true to say that the medicine caused side effects,” said Health CS Cleopa Mailu.

He was responding to a suit by Mr Barnabas Bargolia, who said the ministry provided insulin prescriptions that did not manage sugar levels of patients effectively and had led to amputations and deaths.

According to the ministry, there has never been any complaint by patients concerning the drugs. It accused Mr Bargolia of not taking care of his health.

ALLEGED SIDE EFFECTS

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Mr Bargolia said the drugs had made his eyesight fail, weakened his kidneys, made blood-clotting fail, brought him emotional distress, made him lose capacity to earn a living and led to persistent headaches.

“This petition is seeking to compel the government take steps and guarantee that insulin imported is of approved quality,” he said.

He added that the insulin in the Kenyan market was ineffective, leaving patients helpless. He said he almost died in 2009 after using insulin tested and approved by the ministry. 

Mr Bargolia added that the ministry put the lives of Kenyans at risk by failing to regulate medicines coming into the market.

The patient said lack of proper drugs had made it difficult for him to carry out duties as MD of Tarita Development Ltd and that unless the government intervened, more patients would suffer.

He asked the court to compel the ministry to test insulin manufactured outside the country. 

The case will be heard on April 15.