Published by Kemilembe Barongo

Controlled drugs prescriptions have been a subject of much debate over the years due to their sensitive nature and adverse effects. In Tanzania the Medical Store Department (MSD) is the sole licensed distributor permitted to sell controlled drugs to hospitals and health centers.

For a hospital or Health Centre to be allowed to store and be in possession of a controlled drugs they must make an application with the Tanzania Medicines and Medical Devices Authority where they shall be required to apply for a permit to engage in procurement and use of controlled drugs. 

The health center must ensure that there is registered pharmaceutical personnel who will oversee the controlled drugs. The health center must also fill a narcotic drug checklist and undergo an inspection by the TMDA.

The basic factors that need to be considered are whether there is a well secured area under lock and key (e.g., Cupboard, safe, strong room etc.) for storage of the controlled drugs, a register or ledger for recording entry and issuance, Storage conditions that abide to requirements provided in the Good Distribution Practice Guidelines issued by TMDA.

The permit is renewable annually and the authority may suspend/revoke the permit in case of violation of requirements.

Any person who stores, procures narcotic drugs without a permit will be committing an offence which is Possession of controlled drugs without following established procedures and shall be subjected to a fine by the TMDA. The fine shall be at the discretion of the authority who did the inspection. If a health center fails to comply with the same they may be subjected to court proceedings for violation of the law as per the Tanzania Medicines and Medical Devices Act 2019.

Health centers must thus ensure that they comply with the law and seek registration under the law by visiting the TMDA offices in their respective regions and processing registration.