- Published on Monday, 18 June 2012 03:46
- Written by PIUS RUGONZIBWA
- Hits: 636
LOCAL manufacturers of medical drugs have targeted increasing production capacity by 50 per cent come 2015 aiming at reducing the importation of medicines currently standing at more than 70 per cent.
The move is part of the strategies envisaged by the Federation of East African Pharmaceutical Manufacturers which was formed last year. The upshot is to make sure the country and counterparts in the East African region produce sufficient medicines.
Speaking to the 'Daily News' at the weekend, the Chairman of the Federation, Mr Ramadhani Madabida, said that shortage of human medicines in the country was a major issue that needed to be jointly tackled by all stakeholders.
"With the exception of Tanzania and Kenya where manufacturers can produce at least 30 per cent of the total local needs, the situation was even worse in other member states and it is high time we struggled to come out of this situation," he said.
Mr Madabida, who is also the Managing Director of the Tanzania Pharmaceutical Industries (TPI), which is one of the existing six local pharmaceutical industries operating in the country, said that strategies were underway to solicit funds for the master plan.
Confidence for the region to satisfy its market in the near future, he said, was increasing as the Regional Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plan of Action has pledged to assist on funding and logistics. He mentioned the Germany International organization (GIZ) as one of the stakeholders who work together with the Federation to make sure the objective is met.
“We are certainly looking forward to win the regional local market boom which in the next two years plans to spend more than 800 million US dollars (over 1.2 trillion) for the medicines alone,” he noted.
Tanzania, through the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Mr Madabida said, has already set aside about 80bn/- in the coming financial year for the purchase of medicines, a chunk of it being imports. He cautioned local investors saying they need to secure between 10 million and 30 million US dollars to establish a pharmaceutical industry -- depending on the scale of production.
The Minister for Health and Social Welfare, Dr Hussein Mwinyi, said during the commemoration of the Commonwealth Pharmacy Day and National Pharmacy Week held in the City at the weekend that some investors have already shown interests in investing in the pharmaceutical industry.
"We still encourage the private sector to join in as we have also started receiving proposals from foreign investors who have shown interest in investing in the sector," said the minister. He also pledged that his ministry will establish the Pharmacy Department that will oversee all matters related to administration of pharmaceutical personnel, medicines and medical supplies in the country.
On the side of pharmacists, the chairman of the National Pharmacy Council, Dr Romuald Mbwasi, said his council was working hard to uncover some unethical pharmacists who violate best practices in the field.
He said that the council, which was launched in January this year, will be keen in dealing with offenders but advised members of the public to be careful with substandard medicines and always consult professionals when in doubt.
According to the Pharmaceutical Society of Tanzania (PST), there were only 900 pharmaceutical professionals against the total need of at least 3,400 to meet the recommended ratio of one professional per 100 customers.