Plans for Tanzania’s first drugs factory project progressing well

04Jul 2018
Getrude Mbago
The Guardian
Plans for Tanzania’s first drugs factory project progressing well

A CHINESE investor planning to build a 45 billion/- pharmaceutical plant in the country yesterday held talks with two cabinet ministers and the head of the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) to lay the groundwork for the project.

The Shanghai-based Fosunpharma company intends to, among other things, produce one of the best anti-malaria injection drugs dubbed Artesun to help in the national war against the disease.

According to the Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Ummy Mwalimu, the project will come as a great relief to the government which spends over 90 per cent of its drugs budget to purchase pharmaceutical products from abroad through the Medical Stores Department (MSD).

“It is only 6 per cent of the budget allocated for drugs that is spent locally, with the remaining 94 per cent of the funds going to imported purchases,” she said.

She said construction of the drugs factory within the country will also reduce the time spent in accessing the drugs, noting that currently it can take up to six months for imported medicines to arrive in the country.

The Minister for Trade and Industry, Charles Mwijage, described the project as a milestone in the country’s industrialisation drive, and called for more investors in the pharmaceutical industry.

He commended the Tanzanian ambassador to China, Mbelwa Kairuki, for his efforts to bring Fosunpharma to the country.

Fosunpharma president and CEO William Wu said the company was proud to invest in the local pharmaceutical industry “because human health is key to having a productive nation.”

The managing director of Fosunpharma subsidiary company Gullin Pharmaceuticals Tanzania Ltd, Dr Ashok Kumar, said the task now is to secure 10 to 12 acres of land where the plant will be built.

The plant is expected to produce enough medicines to meet domestic demand, along with a surplus for export.

TIC director general Geoffrey Mwambe said the agency will work closely with the investors to ensure that all the required procedures are followed and construction begins as planned.

“We have provided them with correct information on investment tax issues, and also informed them of other investment opportunities in the country,” Mwambe said.

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