Tough laws ‘crippling East Africa drug firms’

Tough laws ‘crippling East Africa drug firms’

Bernard Gitau @benagitau

Countries within the East Africa Community (EAC) import drugs worth Sh150 billion from India and China, Federation of East Africa Pharmaceutical Manufacturers (FEAPM) has revealed.

The federation said EAC has a fragmented pharmaceutical industry which remains highly regulated, hence crippling the local manufacturers.

Speaking during the fourth Kenya Pharma Expo 2018, FEAPM chair Nazeem Mohamed said there are about 50 drugs manufacturing companies in East Africa which are all struggling because of stiff and cumbersome regulations.

Nazeen said the industry, that has no official statistics, is approximated to be worth more than Sh200 billion.

“We in the association are working closely with the government through EAC Secretariat in Arusha to convince them to come up with policies that allow local manufacturers to grow,” he said.

Nazeen also decried high-cost of drugs in the region which is inflated by 400 to 500 per cent, especially by retailers.

According to the Pharmacy and Poisons Board, Kenya imports 88 per cent of pharmaceutical products. With Kenya spending about eight per cent of its GDP on health, its prescription pharmaceuticals market is worth more than Sh50 billion. Kenya Pharmaceutical Association chairman Peter Mogere said  the country was losing a lot of money to multinationals.

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