The Kenya government is developing a package of incentives to enable local pharmaceutical manufacturing companies survive competition from the international pharmaceutical companies who have dominated the market.
Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Rashid Aman said some of the incentives the government was looking into include the removal of tariff barriers, developing a policy coherence in the pharmaceutical sector and having a foreign direct investment.
The government is also strengthening national regulatory authorities and supporting human capital development.
Dr. Aman said there is need for countries in Africa to invest in resilient and sustainable health systems so as to improve access and availability of essential medicines towards universal health care.
“There has been a perception that Africa is not capable of cost-effective production of quality-assured, safe medical products and that pharmaceutical manufacturing in African countries face challenges of small economies,” noted Aman.
The CAS made the remarks yesterday in a speech read on his behalf by Dr. Isaac Odongo, the Head of Preventive and Curative Service at the Ministry of Health at the 4th Kenya Pharma and Expo Lab 2018 held at Kenyatta International Conventional Centre.
The three-day international event brought together people in pharmaceutical manufacturing business and those planning to explore the trade an opportunity to network, help to strengthen the manufacturing production capability and introduce new products in the market.
The CAS said local production was essential for improved access to affordable medical products and to ensure a strong linkage between local production and improved access, there was need to bring coherence between health, industrial development and trade policies in the pharmaceutical sector.
Dr. Aman noted, “Kenya stands high at being the economical and pharmaceutical hub in East Africa because it has put in several policies and regulations that create a conducive environment for pharmaceutical investments.”
The policies include food security, affordable housing, universal health coverage and manufacturing.
He said the East Africa Community Industrialization Policy and Strategy 2012-2017 and the 2nd East Africa Community Regional Pharmaceutical manufacturing Plan of Action will ensure that East African countries markets are supplied with high quality, affordable essential medicines, thereby contributing to the long term development and sustainability of the local production.
Dr. Aman said for the country to attain the sustainable development goal on health and well-being stakeholders in the health sector should strive to diminish the emerging public health challenges of non-communicable diseases, infectious diseases and neglected tropical diseases.
Dr. Aman, announced that the ministry of Health was also strengthening the existing regulatory authority to be the single independent health products regulator that has been dubbed the Kenya Food and Drugs Authority.
“We believe it will help build a competitive pharmaceutical industry and ensure safe, quality assured efficacious medical products in the market,” said the CAS.
In his remarks, Chairman Kenya Pharma EXPO 2018 Paresh Jhurmarvala said the objective of the Expo is to encourage the pharmaceutical manufacturing companies to adopt the latest manufacturing technologies and equipment’s to enable them strengthen their production capability and provide affordable medicines to all.
“We have brought consultants to help with startups and to develop new plants. Let us come together and support local manufacturing,” said Paresh.
He said pharmaceutical is one of the areas that has a lot of beneficiaries, is heavily regulated, requires those in business to maintain high standards and have many countries to trade with.
Currently there are 72 pharmaceutical companies in East Africa region, of which 35 are in Kenya and produce finished pharmaceutical products. Currently there are four companies in the pipeline ready to set up their plant in Kenya.