Prof Patrick Ogwang, the proprietor and lead scientist of Covidex, a local herbal medicine that supports treatment for viral infections, including Covid-19 has warned pharmacies not to sell the medicine for a price more than shs12000 as the country grapples the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
In an exclusive interview on Monday Morning, Prof. Ogwang said the factory price was at Shs6000 and therefore the most price to be on the market can not exceed Shs 12000, which is double the factory price.
“By yesterday factory price was 6000. We don’t expect someone to sell it at shs20,000, shs30,000 or shs50,000. That is greed. I want to appeal to Ugandans not to use this chance to make themselves rich. You will never become rich through such methods,” Prof. Ogwang said.
“We expect wholesalers to add shs2000 to make it shs8000 and pharmacies at most shs12000. It means full doze of three bottles will be shs36000.”
He explained that Jena Herbals Uganda Limited, the producers of Covidex never intended to make profits out of the herbal medicine but rather to help people who in need.
“We knew Covidex would be a highly demanded product but our company principle is humanity first. Don’t overprice it.”
Last week, the National Drug Authority approved the use of Covidex as a supporting treatment for viral infections including Covid-19.
However, since the announcement the prices have skyrocketed.
A bottle which was less than shs5000 has seen the price reach shs50,000 whereas in other pharmacies the herbal medicine which is in high demand has gone up to shs100,000.
Prof. Ogwang said the herbal medicine is currently produced for only the local market but said in future, they would think of exporting it.
He noted that they are soon carrying out clinical trials to check for Covidex’s effectiveness before taking any other step.
“Once its effectiveness is established, we can export to other countries and this will be an opportunity for the country to grow economically.”
Prof. Ogwang applauded President Museveni for his support to scientists to find solutions to local challenges, noting that Covidex is a result of such support.
He asked the government to increase support to centers of excellence to continue conducting research.
“If the centers of excellence are strengthened and research is encouraged, Africa will stop begging from other countries,” he said.