By: Stephen Wandera and STEPHEN WANDERA
Kampala: Local drug manufacturing companies have asked the government to buy their products first before importing from abroad to avoid suffocating the home sector. Uganda imports most its drugs from India and Europe.
Uganda Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (UPMA) chairperson Nazeem Mohamed said the firms have lost between 50 and 60 per cent of their exports to competition.
“We want the government to buy simple medicines like antibiotics from us to ensure that the sector grows. In return, we shall be able to pay more taxes and provide more employment,” Mr Mohamed, also Kampala Pharmaceutical Limited chief executive officer, said during a donation of an assortment of items to Nkokonjeru Providence Cheshire Home at the weekend.
He said the National Drug Authority (NDA)banned medicine packaged in jars and containers of about 1,000 tablets last yet the drugs had market in South Sudan, DR Congo and Rwanda.
However, the spokesperson NDA, Mr Fred Ssekyana, earlier said the ban was for public safety since the drugs could be contaminated by opening and closing the jars.
Mr Mohamed said manufacturers have now changed packaging to blisters, smaller packets containers of about 10 tablets or pills whose market is still small.
“These new products are more expensive to put on the market. Most of our importers of drugs from the Great Lakes Region have now switched to Kenya where medicines are still packed in the big containers that is more profitable,” he said.
The UPMA chairperson said they have had several meetings with the Health minister, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, over the matter.
companies donate to orphans, elderly
Employees of three sister companies under the Uganda Aga Khan Development Network; Kampala Pharmaceutical (1996) Limited, NTV Uganda and Aga Khan University Medical Centre also planted trees and treated orphans and elderly at Nkokonjeru home.The facility, founded in 1926, takes care of 85 people. The home administrator Sr Angeline Mary hailed the network for their support.
Source: Daily Monitor