Herbal Clinic’s Method Of Making Guinea Pigs Of Kenyans.

Inside Dr. Murugu Herbal Clinic, officials from the Pharmacy and Poisons Board find Henry* (not his real name) being attended to by the receptionist. Henry’s wife has had stomach issues for a very long time. He made the decision to travel from Kisii to seek alternative treatments for his wife after seeing advertisements for the offerings of Murugu Herbal Clinic.

The clinic is conveniently situated on the seventh floor of Contrast House along Moi Avenue in Nairobi’s central business district. Even if Dr. Peter Murugu is not there, his five employees, including the receptionist, are keeping the surgeries running.

There is no trained medic on the team. But when pressed, they claim that the only thing they do is schedule appointments for patients—not really treat them.

After the authorities stopped the facility’s operations, Henry has bad luck. The purpose of the routine search is to determine the type of herbal medication being offered to the general public, as well as its quality and safety criteria.


Dr. Agoro Paddy, an inspector of pharmaceuticals, and Valentine Mokaya are in charge of the authorities, who are joined by police officers. They are welcomed with a stack of pamphlets on the receptionist’s desk that list the illnesses they treat and the length of time it takes for a patient to recover fully.

They include long-term conditions including cancer, gynecological issues, and detoxifying substances. Others guarantee recovery in as little as two weeks.

The receptionist acknowledges that they don’t investigate the backgrounds of people who come in for therapy. There are no medical records available. Rolls of stickers, which are typically used to identify the bottles after packaging with unidentified mixtures, are present in one of the rooms.

The staff members claim they lack the key and will not access the cabinets containing the medications. However, they open them in response to threats from the police officers who are escorting the officials. Herbal medications in clear bottles are widely available on the store shelves.

Transparent bottles shouldn’t be used to store some medications. There are no labels on any of the jerrycans containing medications.

The staff members claim they lack the key and will not access the cabinets containing the medications. However, they open them in response to threats from the police officers who are escorting the officials. Herbal medications in clear bottles are widely available on the store shelves.

Transparent bottles shouldn’t be used to store some medications. There are no labels on any of the jerrycans containing medications.

The shelves are completely stocked with already packaged goods, with labels just displaying the expiration date. According to laws, the bottles bear no mention of the date of manufacturing, batch number, storage conditions, or the doctor’s actual address.

Each medication must also come with a brochure with usage instructions and a list of potential side effects.

“Wait till that day you will get sick and come here and we treat you. That is when you will know these drugs work,” an employee told the team.

Empty bottles are stacked up in the pharmaceutical mixing area, waiting to be filled by someone that only Dr. Murugu knows.

“Members of the public are advised to use health safety codes displayed in registered pharmacy outlets to verify legality of the premises. Send SMS to 21031 and it is free of charge.” – Dominic Kariuki, Pharmacy and Poisons Board


The Ruiru and Ngara locations of the Kamirithu Herbs Clinic are raided by a different crew. They encounter the same anomalies that exist at Murugu’s clinic. Dates detailing the time the pharmaceuticals were created, their expiration dates, and the substances utilized to generate them are absent from medications.

When asked about her credentials, the single member of staff present replies that she is merely a salesperson and not a qualified chemist.

It has been revealed that the medications utilized in the clinic are produced in a facility in Ruiru under the supervision of the owner, Andrew Njuguna, who also serves as the chief pharmacist.

Njuguna claims he studied pharmacy at the Royal College in Ruiru when the crew interviewed him at his Kahawa Wendani home. Although he claims to have registered some of his medications at the University of Nairobi, the government has not yet tested the substances and made the results public.

Njuguna claims, “We paid the Sh50,000 registration cost and filled out all the necessary documents, but we haven’t gotten a report from the university on the composition and efficacy of the medicine.”

He claims that the government’s refusal to evaluate, certify, or denounce the products convinced him that he is free to carry out his activities.

“The last time I went to their offices they dismissed me without giving me audience. I had no option but to go back to what I have been doing for the last 30 years,” he said.

One of the powder samples, according to Njuguna, can treat diabetes, malaria, and allergies. He claimed, “I have treated recovered patients with it.”

He said that among other gynecological disorders, a different medication he sells can treat dysmenorrhea. The medication is promoted as a treatment for all gynecological conditions.

The herbalist demonstrated to the group his drug-making apparatus, which included a modified posho mill.

The third attack is conducted at the Chinese-run East and West Medical Center. The clinic not only conducts its business illegally, but it also sells drugs that are unsafe for human consumption.

Several items inside the clinic have Chinese labels, some of which make it difficult to identify what they are. Despite the owner’s assurances, no import documentation are discovered during the raid.

All of the goods have been seized, and the owners are anticipating charges.


29 people have been detained and charged thus far, while 76 properties have been inspected. Charges against those who had already been brought to court included selling unregistered medications and distributing poisons when a container was not labeled according to regulations.

In Nairobi, 30 clinics have shuttered in the past week. Among these are the well-known Olive and Makini herbal clinics. Large quantities of an unidentified powder in buckets were found at Olive Herbal Clinic; the proprietor was detained and hauled to court. On a Sh100,000 bail, the accused was sent free.

A sizable shipment of illegal herbal goods was confiscated at Ratilal Makanji Gudka Co. Ltd. One person was detained, hauled to court, and released on Sh80,000 bond.

What Kenyans may truly be eating as alternative medicine has been a subject of much speculation since the raids. Kenyans are thought to be consuming harmful compounds that have not been examined and confirmed by the government, from items that lack ingredients to packing that has been done in inferior bottles.

According to PPB representatives, desperate Kenyans are the ones who are most at risk from these herbalists’ false claims that they can treat illnesses in a matter of weeks. Additionally, there is a paucity of information regarding the referral processes patients should follow if they don’t feel better.

Using Henry as an example, what he needed to do was simply return to the hospital and explain why the medications his wife was taking weren’t working. The hospital would have probably taken advantage of other possibilities.
Mokaya Valentine
In order to deter the activity, the board is now asking courts to impose significant fines on those found responsible for running illicit herbal businesses. The sanctions now levied against violators, according to crackdown coordinator Julius Kaluai, are not sufficiently dissuasive.

The clinic of Murugu has previously been searched. The facility was shut down after a second raid in 2015, however it was then reopened for an unknown reason.


It is anticipated that the raids will continue to ensure consumer safety. Kenya is developing rules to control the activities of herbalists, who are partially to blame for boosting the sale of counterfeit drugs by misrepresenting them to patients as herbal.

According to the rules, herbalists must register their medications and submit them for laboratory testing. In Kenya, the sale of herbal medicine is unregulated. The Department of Culture Services does not demand any specific education abilities from herbalists in order to license them.

Some vendors publicly advertise their goods on the streets, and others do so from public transportation vehicles. The medications that are most frequently targeted are those used to boost immunity and sexual performance.

Dominic Kariuki, a PPB good distribution practices officer, urged Kenyans to seek treatment at reputable, mainstream medical facilities. According to him, these are recognized products with guaranteed quality, efficacy, and safety.

PPB used official closure notifications (banners), which are posted on the doors of clinics that inspectors had shut down, during this crackdown. The closure notices are identified by specific serial numbers that correspond to certain clinics.

To ensure that the aforementioned premises stay closed, copies of the closure forms are sent to the local police command. The closure signs also serve as a warning to the general public to stay away.

“The general public is recommended to use the health safety codes displayed in authorized pharmacy stores to confirm the legitimacy of the location. It costs nothing to send an SMS to 21031, according to Kariuki.

In order to check for contamination and adulteration with conventional medicines, the seized herbal goods have subsequently been taken for analysis.

What do you think?

Written by Esther Oyugi

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