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Vihiga County Referral Hospital Pharmacists Stealing Patients’ Cancer Drugs

CAPTION: The Vihiga County Referral Hospital Entrance

Barely one week after a shocking investigation exposed how a sophisticated cartel based at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) plotted to steal cancer drugs and other expensive medications for personal sale, a similar case scenario has been raised at the Vihiga County Referral Hospital where cancer patients are reportedly struggling to access drugs.

Speaking to us on Tuesday 31st May, one of the many affected victims exclusively narrated how corrupt pharmacists at the county facility declined to grant medication to his sickly father who is battling prostate cancer with the lame excuse of depleted stock.

The patient who was recently transferred from Nairobi due to his deteriorating condition was previously receiving free cancer drugs at the KNH counter through a smooth process fully covered by the National Hospital Health Insurance Fund (NHIF).

This seamlessly continued at the Vihiga Referral Hospital but after one month, everything changed.

The pharmacists began sending the old man away to buy drugs from nearby chemists and only provided him with ordinary painkillers.

To make matters worse, the hospital billed him exorbitant amounts which they deducted from his NHIF cover.

Interestingly, when the victim’s family curiously enquired further on whether everyone within their circles was being subjected to the same treatment, one patient close to his father reliably informed them that the chronicle of inadequate drugs was just a fake ploy by the greedy practitioners.

He was apparently advised that as a newbie at the facility, there is no way he could access drugs without special links to an insider at the Vihiga County Referral Hospital pharmacy.

“Hello, Cyprian.

I’m not a proud Kenyan, I’m not happy at all with Vihiga County Referral Hospital.

My dad has been battling prostate cancer for a while.

Since it is not easy to buy drugs every day and we’re not well up financially, we opted to use NHIF since it was the only thing that was of help.

Due to unavoidable circumstances, we defaulted on paying for his NHIF but later I was advised by one of the staff that for him to use the card I must pay for two years (that is this year 2022/2023) which I struggled and paid in full until it got worse and dad decided to go back to the village, where we had to transfer his outpatient centre to Vihiga Referral Hospital.

While he was attending clinics at the Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi, we used the NHIF cover to get cancer drugs from the counter.

But the moment he was transferred to Vihiga, he was only given the cancer drugs for one month only, and yet NHIF can cater for everything since it’s paid in full up to 2023.

The problem is with the Pharmacists at the counter who will decline to give us drugs in the pretence that there are no cancer drugs only to give him painkillers.

Once he provides the NHIF card they deduct or claim to have given him high-cost drugs but in essence, he’s given only painkillers.

A friend he met while attending clinics, uses the same NHIF to get drugs free of charge.

He informed my dad that he has a relative at the hospital but my dad is sent away to buy from chemists since he doesn’t have a relative at the hospital.

It’s been hard for me to get money for the drugs and my dad is painfully suffering.

My dad will die not because we didn’t try but because the pharmacists at Vihiga County Referral Hospital are selling cancer drugs in the pretence of giving them to patients.

I was promised by NHIF staff that the cover will cater for everything if I paid for two years in full, which I did.

Kindly highlight this.

Thank you and kind regards,” the source writes.

On Wednesday, May 25, 2022, six suspects of the KNH drug heist were charged in court.

According to court papers seen by cnyakundi.com, Emily Nyambura, Phillip Owino, Mary Mumo, Yvonne Muthoni, Rose Jepkogei and Maureen Adongo conspired to steal the cancer medication from the Kenyatta Prime Care Centre pharmacy valued at more than Ksh.9 million.

They all pleaded not guilty while appearing before Chief Magistrate Wendy Michemi and were released on a cash bail of Sh500,000 or a bond of Sh1m.


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