The majority of the medicines and equipment for government health units are obtained from National Medical Stores (NMS), an autonomous government agency charged with the procurement, storage and distribution of essential drugs and supplies to the public sector. The main source of funding for drugs is Government subventions sent to the districts for primary health care activities.
The missionary hospitals source their drugs and health supplies from Joint Medical Stores (JMS). Only when drugs and equipment are out of stock from NMS, can public health facilities source them from elsewhere including JMS.
Currently there are 5 large-scale pharmaceutical manufacturers and 5 small-scale pharmaceutical manufacturers. There are 2939 public sector health facilities from which drugs may be dispensed, 215 private pharmacies and 2600 drug shops. Of the private pharmacies, nearly 80% are in the three major towns of Kampala, Jinja and Mbarara.