Richard Gordon

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the challenges around the supply of medicines to the developing world. Whether it be vaccines or drugs, the events of the past 12 months have exposed the inequities of the current supply model.

Nowhere has this been more obvious than in Africa. Africa is not helpless, however, and there is a firm desire by many countries to use the recent experience to ensure that this never happens again. A number of recent activities point to this shift in emphasis. Now is the time to build on this momentum, as well as focus on some of the key issues that need to be addressed.

The first argument against investing in manufacturing capacity in Africa relates to cost-competitiveness, as it is thought to be too expensive to make drugs in Africa. While this is true in some cases, it does not apply universally.

A recent pre-feasibility study for the establishment of manufacturing plants for essential medicines and health commodities in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) showed that several essential medicines can be made more cost effectively in Africa. There is a caveat, as this model relies on the need for longer-term commitments for procurement, the implementation of a pooled procurement strategy for the region, and, most importantly, government incentive schemes such as tax breaks and duty-free capital goods.

Source:
https://www.iol.co.za/news/opinion/strengthening-africas-medicine-manufacturing-capacity-77a2faf9-0924-4544-9b9d-d065099b3f9a

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