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State takes steps to protect local pharmaceutical manufacturers

Rose Muthoni @rosemuthoniN

Government departments have been barred from importing drugs and pharmaceutical products already available in the market, to allow local manufacturers enjoy easier market access.

Trade Cabinet secretary Peter Munya said government agencies will now have to certify that medical equipment and drugs they intend to procure from foreign suppliers are not available in the market.

“We are making a master list of all items that will be strictly purchased from local suppliers. There will be severe actions taken against agencies flouting this policy,” said Munya.

The Cabinet has already passed an amendment bill christened ‘Buy Kenya, Build Kenya,’ that seeks to compel traders contracted by the government to purchase and supply at least 40 per cent local produce.

The amendments to the Procurement Act, are meant to encourage small and medium-size businesses to develop new products to support the government’s Big Four agenda on Manufacturing.

Local producers and manufacturers have decried gaping loopholes in regulations that protect domestic suppliers against cheap imports that threaten their survival.

Healthcare solutions

The CS spoke on Tuesday when he welcomed B Braun, the global providers and manufacturers of healthcare solutions at the Export Processing Zone (EPZ) in Athi River.

The German-headquartered company has identified Kenya as its investment destination in Africa and is in the process of setting up the first B Braun infusion plant at EPZ Athi River.

B Braun Pharmaceuticals EPZ Ltd managing director Samuel Muchiri said the company is looking to pump in an additional €1 million (Sh115.3 million) for upgrade of an existing plant at EPZ grounds before it starts manufacturing products locally early next year.

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