Government calls for local drug manufacturers
This call comes after a stock-out of Septrin in the country, a wonder drug which when taken daily, gives tremendous relief and prolongs the life of people living with HIV/AIDS
According to NDA, 80% of all pharmaceutical products consumed in Uganda are imported from China and India.
“The health sector is vital to the country and economy and without medicine, the health sector cannot function. If a country is dependent, as we are currently up to 80% on imported pharmaceutical products, the country runs a big risk that we will not be able to treat the people or get medicine if there is any breakage in the supply chain. So, it is important to have a domestic manufacturing industry for purposes of treating people,” said executive secretary, Donna Kusemererwa, the NDA executive secretary.
Kusemererwa also said if the country has its own plant, manufacturers will produce medicine that will respond to people’s specific needs and also employ Ugandans.
“We spend a lot of money on importing medicine that sometimes we do not need or we stop using when an outbreak is over, however, if there is a local pharmaceutical plant, Ugandans will easily access quality and affordable medicine,” she noted.
Addressing the media, Patrick Ssemango, the Sev Pharmaceuticals Ltd managing director, said as local manufacturers, they have a challenge of unco-ordination between government bodies.
“At times the customs people do not know what is regarded as pharmaceutical input or general purpose materials. Sometimes NDA clears a raw material for pharmaceuticals and URA customs rejects, saying it is for general purpose and not for medicinal manufacturing,” said Ssemango.
Ssemango called upon the Government to assist them in providing land for those who are interested in setting up pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities and Uganda Revenue Authority to be more sensitised about pharmaceuticals products.
“The BUBU campaign is a good gesture for promoting local production so we should be given capital or low interest loans and also be encouraged to set up small scale manufacturing facilities,” said Ssemango.
In addition to other benefits such as creating jobs, the World Health Organisation believes the local production of medicine in developing countries could be a solution to the lack of affordable drugs.