- In 1915, Headquarter Medical Stores was established during the British colonial rule known as Kenya Colony. It existed as a medical department under the stewardship of Captain J.R. Robertson who was the medical storekeeper (Principal Medical Officer), East Africa Protectorate.
- In 1924, Headquarter Medical Stores created a Medical Department, headed by a senior Medical officer called Dr. J. B. Clarke who was the medical storekeeper under the Principal MedicalThe office of the Director of Medical Services was also created.
- In 1925, the name of this department changed to Medical Store headed by a medical storekeeper.
- In 1927, the name also changed to Medical stores and equipment still situated at Kenya and Uganda Railways and Harbors headquarter in Nairobi.
- In 1931, the medical storekeeper was H. Elliott and 1945 when W.C Skedge took over as Medical Storekeeper and in 1948; J.J Potter was the Medical Storekeeper.
- In 1949, there was an uprising MAU MAU movement in Kenya to drive out the colonial rule. In 1952, a state of emergency was declared in Kenya. In 1963, Kenya gained its independence and self-rule.
- This led to creation of various ministries including the Ministry of Health. Medical stores and equipment department was integrated into the mainframe of the ministry. Medical Stores and Equipment later changed its name to Central Medical Stores but maintained their Loco station until 1970.
- Since 1971 to 1986 CMS moved from Railway Loco to a store situated near (current location of Unilever company) and occupied a central warehouse of 52,000 square feet to operate independently as a department in the Ministry of Health since Railway fell under the Ministry of Transport and Communication Portfolio.
- On 30th July 1973 the Permanent Secretary, Office of the President, requested that the stores system for medical supplies be reorganized to improve control and accountability. Work commenced on this project on 2nd August 1973. The central medical store management information system (CMS/MIS), flexible, modifiable and integrated system including control of orders entry, inventory control, sales analysis, financial management and accounts receivable and account payable was developed.
- In 1973 other regional depots in Mombasa and Kisumu were constructed to serve Coast and Western provinces respectively.
- In 1983, Central Medical Stores underwent a crucial juncture in its history with the formation of districts heath management teams (DHMTs).
- In 1987, Central Medical Stores moved from its premises to a warehouse on commercial street industrial area and changed its name to Medical Supplies Coordinating Unit (MSCU).
- In 1996, the Ministry of Health set up a committee known as MSCU Working Group with express mandate whose end result would be the reform and restructuring of MSCU.
- In June 1998, Health stakeholders met at KCCT Mbagathi and recommended setting up an autonomous corporate entity “… to Plan, Procure, Warehouse and Distribute drugs and other medical supplies to Public Health Facilities.”
- In 2000 Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (KEMSA) was established as a state corporate organisation through a legal notice No 17 of 2000, Cap 466 of the Laws of Kenya.
- In 2005 Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (KEMSA) was operationalized.
- In 2013 through an ACT of parliament, The Kenya Medical Supplies Authority Act was assented to by the President which led to a change from being an Agency to an Authority with the following mandate:
Procure, warehouse and distribute drugs and medical supplies for prescribed public health programs, the national strategic stock reserve, prescribed essential health packages and national referral hospitals.
Establish a network of storage, packaging and distribution facilities for the provision of drugs and medical supplies to health institutions
Enter into partnership with or establish frameworks with County Governments for purposes of providing services in procurement, warehousing, distribution of drugs and medical supplies.
Collect information and provide regular reports to the national and county government’s on the status and cost effectiveness of procurement, the distribution and value of prescribed essential medical supplies delivered to health facilities, stock status and on any other aspects of supply system status and performance which may be required by stakeholders.
Support County Governments to establish and maintain appropriate supply chain systems for drugs and medical supplies.