UNIDO Consultant Wilberforce Wanyanga told journalists in Nairobi it plans to assist 34 pharmaceutical manufacturers meet World Health Organization (WHO) pre-qualification standards in the next four years.
So far, only one Kenyan manufacturing firm has met WHO standards.
In addition, the number of pharmaceutical firms that can produce malaria drugs has reduced from a high of 16 to two as the companies were not able to innovate drugs that could overcome malaria parasite drug resistance.
Wanyanga said that UNIDO will also offer technical assistance to Kenya’s pharmaceutical regulator in order to enhance its capability for surveillance on counterfeits.
He added that Kenya is already East Africa’s regional hub for pharmaceutical industry.
Under UNIDO’s Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), Kenya will become a low cost producer of quality essential drugs for diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis and malaria.
Wanyanga said that Kenya’s domestic manufacturers face hurdles in providing medicines for projects funded by international donors.
“This is because they need to attain highest quality standards and this has constrained the expansion of the industry,’ he added. Domestic pharmaceutical production has numerous advantages.
“Kenya will have access to freshly produced medicines that are closer to the market,” he added. Regulatory costs of controlling the quality of drugs will also be reduced significantly,” he added.
Wanyanga said that reliance on imports leads to delays due to lengthy procedures required to clear medicines at the border points.
“The drugs must also be stored at certain temperatures in order to maintain their quality,” he said. Enditem