Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter
A ZIMBABWEAN pharmacist is seeking permission to compile a private electronic database for all pharmacies and their stocks and wants the courts to order the Health Professions Authority of Zimbabwe, Pharmacists Council of Zimbabwe and the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe to allow her to do this. Miss Dudzai Mureya has established a company called Medical Information Services (Private) Limited to create and maintain the proposed database to help patients or their relatives to check online where they can easily find their prescribed medicines as well as the pharmacies that accept their medical aid societies.
The Health Professions Authority of Zimbabwe, Pharmacists Council of Zimbabwe and the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe have given Miss Mureya a cold shoulder and stalled her progress in terms of setting up the database.
Through her lawyer Mr Lovemore Madhuku of Lovemore Madhuku Lawyers, Miss Mureya has filed an application at the High Court seeking a declaration that the proposed database does not violate the laws of the country.
She cited the Health Professions Authority of Zimbabwe, Pharmacists Council of Zimbabwe, Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe and the Minister of Health and Child Care as respondents in the court application filed last week.
Miss Mureya also seeks an order compelling the cited authorities to approve the proposed database. From her experience as a pharmacist, Miss Mureya said she realised there was a gap in the pharmacy industry that can best be filled by the introduction of an electronic database.
“A patient in Zimbabwe who has been given a prescription by his or her medical practitioner goes through the nightmare and inconvenience of physically moving from one pharmacy to the next before accessing the medicine because there is no database available to the public.
“Such a database can, within minutes, indicate to the patient where the medicines may be found. There is overwhelming demand by the public for such a service and I believe it is in the public interest that such a service be provided,” reads Miss Mureyi’s founding affidavit.
Miss Mureyi stated in her affidavit that the cold shoulder she was given by the three statutory bodies pointed to the allegation that her idea was in contravention of the law. After taking legal advice from her lawyers, Miss Mureyi contends that the proposed database was in line with the people’s right to access healthcare services and access to information as enshrined in the Constitution.
She argued that no Act of Parliament can be violated by the approval of such a critical service. The respondents are yet to file their responses at the High Court.