Set up drug factory, govt urged

Thursday February 25 2016

Pharmacy and Poisons Board Registrar Kipkerich Koskei addresses participants at the Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi on February 24, 2016.

Pharmacy and Poisons Board Registrar Kipkerich Koskei addresses participants at the Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi on February 24, 2016 during the 2016 Africa Pharmaceutical Summit. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By EUNICE KILONZO
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The government has been urged to invest in the pharmaceutical industry by setting up a manufacturing plant that will bring down the cost of medication for Kenyans.

The registrar of the Pharmacy and Poisons Board, Dr Kipkerich Koskei, said Kenya has the “potential” of becoming a drug manufacturing hub not only for the region but also for the continent.

Dr Koskei said: “We already have 36 local drug manufacturing companies but more are needed so that we can improve access of quality drugs for Kenyans. This will be beneficial in creating jobs and improving our economy.”

He spoke on Wednesday in Nairobi at the Third Africa Pharmaceutical Summit that hosted more than 70 pharmaceutical companies and over 1, 500 participants from across the world. The summit ends on Thursday.

Dr Koskei said the summit would come up with recommendations that would "inform partners and interested parties on the potential of investing in industry”.

Kenya contributes nearly Sh65 billion to the global pharmaceutical market, according to the registrar.

COMPETITIVE INDUSTRY

The summit has brought investors who will provide “Kenya with a competitive pharmaceutical industry thus expanding access to quality and affordable medicines,” said Dr Koskei when he addressed a panel at the two-day conference.

Other issues on the agenda include substandard and counterfeit drugs on the market.

This year's theme is “Building Competitiveness and Enhancing Markets”. Companies from Africa and internationally known brands will showcase innovation and new products in the sector. It is organised by the PharmaAfrica Ltd.

According to the African Development Bank, the continent has a booming demand for drugs and medicine that is expected to raise up to Sh4 trillion as early as 2020.