Pharmaceutical products – more commonly known as medicines or drugs – are a fundamental component of both modern and traditional medicine. It is essential that such products are safe, effective, and of good quality, and are prescribed and used rationally.
In Zambia, the Zambia Medicines Regulatory Authority (ZAMRA) regulates and controls the manufacture, importation, storage distribution, supply, sale and use of medicines and allied substances. It is a statutory body established under an Act of Parliament; the Medicines and Allied Substances Act No. 3 of 2013.
ZAMRA’s main objective is to ensure that all medicines and allied substances being made available to the Zambian people consistently meet the set standards of quality, safety and efficacy.
For the standardisation, standards formulation, quality control, quality assurance, import and export quality inspections, certification and removal of technical barriers to trade, it is the Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS) that carries out this function. It is the Statutory National Standards Body for Zambia established under an Act of Parliament, the Standards Act, Cap 416 of 1994 of the Laws of Zambia.
Using ineffective, poor quality, harmful medicines can lead to healing failure, the worsening of disease, resistance to medicines and sometimes death. It also weakens confidence in health systems, health professionals, pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors.
Types of medicines
Most medicines come in a variety of types. Be aware, though, that some medicines (particularly rare or unusual ones) only come in one type. Also, some may be more effective in one type than another.
Pharmaceutical products suppliers
In Zambia, ensuring consistent access to good quality, safe and affordable pharmaceutical products is still a challenge. For this reason, various companies have come on board to mitigate this situation by supplying a wide selection of medicines. Some can be bought off the counter and others will need a prescription to be sold.