The Ministry of Medical Services wants Treasury to increase the budgetary allocation to research and development of pharmaceutical products, so as to raise the number of drugs manufactured locally and reduce the cost of medicines.
“As a ministry we will lobby for the increased allocation money to pharmaceutical research and development so that we can get local pharmaceuticals producing more. This will enable us avail drugs at affordable prices to patients as well as save on money that we use in importing drugs,” Ministry of Medical Services Assistant Minster Kazungu Kambi said.
The Assistant Minister, who was speaking on Tuesday after commissioning a research and development facility by Beta Healthcare, also said the ministry would come up with a policy that would give incentives to the pharmaceutical industry to increase production of drugs.
The Managing Director of Shelys Africa – the holding company for Beta Healthcare – Dr Sanjay Advani, said Government procurement procedures had failed the industry by favouring imported drugs and denying local pharmaceuticals business.
“If the volumes are huge, then the price of drugs manufactured locally can come down by significant margins. But as it is, local pharmaceuticals do not get significant orders from Government hospitals, and hence our volumes are low and we cannot leverage on the economies of scale,” he said.
The research facility, which took two years to develop, is the first of its kind in the region, and would increase Beta Healthcare’s competitiveness in Kenya.
By Macharia Kamau, The Standard