Anambra PHCs: Mandatory Drug Purchases Raise Concerns

Okafor Anothonia, the officer-in-charge at Igbu primary health center in Oyi Local Government Area of Anambra State could barely contain her frustration on the extortion she faces in the cause of discharging her duties under the guise of selling drugs for the state.

According to her, the state supplies them some set of drugs and are mandated to sell and remit the money within a specific period of time. The problem however, is that the drugs are expensive for PHC users to purchase and are most times cheaper outside. This means the Officers in Charge pay for these drugs from their salary as they are mandated under any circumstance to remit the money. This money ranges from the sum of 220,000 to 580,000 naira depending on the location of the PHC.



“The drug is not affordable for them to buy. They mostly buy drugs of 150 (hundred and fifty Naira) and even the ones that will buy drugs of 500 (five hundred Naira) will be on credit. So imagine telling them to buy drugs of 2,000 Naira”

“I have to pay the money with my salary as the villagers cannot afford it” She said.

In Franscisa Okafor’s case, the OIC of Ifite -awkuzu PHC, she sells it way below the price just to raise small money from it which she will then have to complete with her salary.


“The government introduced new things here. They gave us one elephant cards to sell, increased the tax we pay and still introduced this new drug”

“It’s the drugs that are giving me problems. I have to pay from my salary because the poor villagers can not pay for them”

Nwolo Maryrose, a volunteer at one of the PHCs in Oyi Local Government Area confirmed that the drugs are cheaper outside or have varieties that are cheaper. In her words,


“The problem is the mandated sale of the drugs. The people we are to sell it to can not buy it. It is above their financial power, which means the PHC pays with their money”


A quick investigation showed this to be true. This reporter interviewed two pharmacies in Awka to get the price of the drugs outside and this proved to be true. Mmesoma Agu, a pharmacist with Glocare pharmacy stores in Awka confirmed this. Upxin which sells for 750 Naira outside goes for the price of 1,550 Naira inside the PHCs. Certa Kit that is 3150 Naira, goes for 8,150 Naira while Upfine that is 400 Naira outside, sells for 600 Naira inside the PHCs.

In an interview with a patient at one of the PHCs, identified as Chiamaka Igwe, she complained bitterly on how it was hard for her to get the drugs. She was forced to get them outside.


“When I was sick and came here for treatment, they recommended some drugs to me but the price was too much so I took the names and got them outside. I know am supposed to patronize them but I couldn’t help at that time”

The Anambra State Government and BHCPC should look into these complaints and consider the peculiarities and realities faced in each PHC and eliminate the mandatory sales of the drugs or better still subsidize it.


This story was produced for the Frontline Investigative Program and supported by the Africa Data Hub and Orodata Science

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