The Pharmacy and Poisons Board has instituted investigations against Jumia Kenya for the illegal sale of Prescription Only Medicine (POM) on the platform without a license.
According to the Board, the e-commerce giant has been engaging in the advertisement, promotion, and trade of health products and technologies (HPTs) including prescription only medicines contrary to the Pharmacy and Poisons Act which it says “poses a great risk to patient safety and promotes irrational use of HPTs”.
“Jumia Kenya has been instructed to immediately pull down all the illegal advertisements and investigations are underway to ensure appropriate regulatory action is taken against person and parties involved in this particular case,” said Dr. F.M Siyoi in a statement released Thursday.
Dr. Siyoi further added that it is engaging regulatory agencies such as the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) for interventions and non-compliant HPT e-commerce domains.
According to Cap 444 of the Act, no person is allowed to advertise any drug or poison except with the written permission of the Board.
Any person who contravenes the requirement is liable to a fine not exceeding Kshs. 20,000 or a jail term not exceeding one year.
However, Jumia Kenya which is an online marketplace for sellers has laid blame on vendors.
Nonetheless, the firm has said it is working closely with them to ensure consumers are protected against the sale of unsafe, illegal, and unlicensed products when they shop on the online platform.
“We take action when a seller contravenes the rules and regulations. Necessary action has been taken in this case, in collaboration with the Pharmacy and Poisons Board to hold the seller accountable,” said Jumia Kenya.
The Board has further warned wholesalers and retailers against contravening rules governing the sale of Prescription Only Medicine.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers have found convenience in purchasing goods and services online a factor that has led to the rapid expansion of e-commerce platforms in Kenya.
According to a report by AllTheResearch, the online pharmacy market is expected to reach $202.3 billion by 2027 from $68.2 billion in 2020, with a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 16.8%.
The growth will further be driven by increase internet use, generation of online prescriptions by licensed medical outlets, and higher adoption of online services.
Kenya is one of the countries with high internet adoption boasting 26.8 million mobile broadband subscribers as of September last year.