Service delivery takes a hit as InnovaRx Global’s conflict with the Medicine Control Agency worsens

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Dr. Ismail Badjie, the company's founder and CEO

InnovaRx Global Health has raised significant concerns about its ongoing shutdown by the medicine control agency. This shutdown has interrupted the delivery of services to its customers, who rely on their medical supplies.

In February, the Medicine Control Agency raided InnovaRx Global Health’s premises in Kanifing, seizing their medical supplies. The agency accused InnovaRx Global Health of non-compliance with medical regulations, which the company refuted, labeling the raid as ‘arbitrary.’

In the latest developments, InnovaRx Global Health has informed its customers through a letter that the shutdown will affect their services following the denial of clearance for their recent consignment of medical supplies by the medicines control agency.

“It is with a heavy heart that I write to you today, as our company finds itself at a critical juncture that is impacting the level of service we committed to providing you. InnovaRx Global Health has built its reputation on delivering high-quality healthcare solutions and ensuring uninterrupted access to essential medications for our customers. Since the brief interruption in our services in February 2024, our company has been working tirelessly to find a long-lasting and sustainable solution. We have employed all collaborative and diplomatic approaches to resolve the issue while placing the continuity of care of our patient’s medication therapy and compliance with the regulator’s protocols at the forefront of our efforts,” Dr. Ismail Badjie, Founder & CEO of InnovaRx Global Health, said in a letter to his clients. 

“Yet despite our best efforts, we are currently facing a significant regulatory challenge, which has led to a delay in the release of our medical supplies. Our inventory levels are running critically low, and that’s why I am reaching out to you in advance to let you know that, regrettably, we find ourselves challenged to fulfill the service you have come to expect from us. This situation is currently beyond our control. Our shipment of vital medications were brought in by our company CFO on Monday, April 8, but they are still being held at the Banjul International Airport customs office awaiting MCA’s approval and issuance of an import permit. Physical unpacking and inspection of the entire inventory by MCA was completed on April 15. We understand the gravity of this situation and the potential impact it may have on your health and well-being. Please know that we are working tirelessly to resolve this matter with the utmost urgency. Our team is actively engaged in discussions with the relevant government authorities, exploring every possible avenue to secure the release of our medications.” 

Our research indicates that Innovarx informed the MCA on April 8, 2024, about the arrival of their January shipment of FDA-approved prescription medication from the US at Banjul International Airport. The company sought an on-site inspection and verification of the sourcing and expiration dates to expedite the granting of an import permit.

 

On May 6, 2024, Dr. Ismail Badjie, Founder and CEO of Innovarx, addressed a letter to the Chief of Staff at the Office of the President. The letter outlined the grave repercussions of the 30-day hold-up of their medication consignment at customs and the financial strain caused by new regulations. Innovarx cautioned that unless the issue is swiftly resolved, they might have to shut down their operations in The Gambia as soon as May.

Last week, Dr. Ismail Badjie met with the Minister of Health to discuss the urgency of releasing the medications held at the airport, which have been denied an import permit. 

In response, the Medicines Control Agency (MCA) justified the rejection of the import clearance permit in a letter, stating that Innovarx Global’s products are not registered or listed as mandated by law.

A health sector stakeholder suggests that the Medicines Control Agency’s (MCA) actions towards a Gambian-owned pharmaceutical company are designed to misuse legal amendments to undermine Innovarx’s operations.

The allegations also include that Essa Marenah, serving as the Executive Director of MCA, concurrently held the position of Supervising Pharmacist at Stop Step Pharmacy/Medicare (Lebanese) for more than ten years and was the Director of Inspections, Registration, and Evaluation during the AKI incident, indicating a potential conflict of interest.

Tijan Jallow, serving as the Operations Manager for MCA and Supervising Pharmacist for Atlantic Pharmacy, had his signature on the medications linked to the AKI children’s deaths.

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