BY HARRIET CHIKANDIWA
INDUSTRY and Commerce ministry secretary Mavis Sibanda yesterday told Parliament that her ministry was implementing a pharmaceutical strategy to increase the market share of local pharmaceutical products from 11% to 35% by 2025.
Sibanda said this when she appeared before the Parliamentary Thematic Committee on HIV/Aids chaired by MDC-T senator Morgan Femai.
She said her ministry was working on increasing local production of essential medicines through product diversification, where companies will be encouraged to introduce new products.
“The Industry and Commerce ministry will work with the Ministry of Health to ensure that local companies are given priority on medicine procurement, including anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs),” Sibanda said.
“Government will approach potential development partners to secure funding for the pharmaceutical sector.”
She said the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe would develop a World Health Organisation programme on plant refurbishments, upgrading and improvements in quality management systems of the pharmaceutical industry.
“This will ensure that the local industry complies with international standards which offer them a competitive edge,” Sibanda said, adding that government would approach potential development partners to secure funding for the pharmaceutical sector.
She said her ministry, in consultation with the Health ministry, was managing 23 pharmaceutical products through Statutory Instrument (SI) 112 of 2017.
“The 23 products require an import licence as a way of protecting the local pharmaceutical industry. Importation is only allowed when the local industry is unable to supply. So imports will be allowed to fill in the supply gap,” Sibanda said.
“The ministry recommends a waiver of duty on equipment imported for manufacturing purposes, this gives relief to companies that would want to import plant and equipment for manufacturing purposes.”
She also said government engaged Varichem Pharmaceutical with the view of resuscitating local manufacturing of ARVs.