Multi -billion pharmaceutical plant launched in Athi river.

Construction of a Sh. 7.5 billion Pharmaceuticals manufacturing plant at the Export Processing Zones (EPZ) in Athi River, Machakos has commenced.

Speaking during the groundbreaking ceremony yesterday, Industrialization Cabinet Secretary (CS) Adan Mohammed said Square Pharmaceuticals Limited manufacturing plant will assist help the government deal with counterfeits.

Drug counterfeiting was a major problem in the health sector. If you have experts on the ground manufacturing drugs, it will help us deal with counterfeits, said Mohammed.

The CS said the Bangladesh-based company will see the construction of local pharmaceutical plants at the Zone that will employ more than 1,500 skilled and unskilled workers

Mohamed said foreign direct investments such as that of Square Pharmaceuticals will play a key role in the development of the local manufacturing sector through investments in research, design technology transfer.

He said currently, the local pharmaceutical manufacturing sector has the capacity to supply only 28 per cent noting that nearly 70 per cent of Kenya’s pharmaceutical demand is covered by imports with regular import growth of 11.45 per cent in the last three years on average.

The CS said the construction of a local pharmaceutical manufacturing facility is a cost- reduction strategy aimed at the promotion of technology transfer between developed and developing countries that will bring down the price of drugs and increasing public access to quality and affordable medicines in the country.

According to the company’s Managing Director Tapan Chowdhury, construction works will start in April this year and the plant is expected to be operational by June 2019.

Chowdhury said the facility that will spread across 16 acres will manufacture a range of 2 billion tablets, capsules and 60 million bottles of liquid medicines for the local and export market in Africa.

Chowdhury said the plant will include drugs for communicable diseases like HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis and non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and anti � psychotic diseases within five years of manufacturing initiation.

We recognize the opportunity and profound responsibility to address obstacles limiting access to quality affordable drugs and promote public health in the markets we operate in as we play our role in the pharmaceuticals sector, having a local manufacturing plant will ensure Kenya and the region can easily access quality and affordable medicine. said Chowdhury.

He lauded the Kenyan government for creating a policy and business environment where pharmaceutical companies can thrive.

We believe local pharmaceutical production has a potential to drastically reduce the cost of drugs by 40% and bring about greater access to essential medicines while at the same time promoting the agenda of universal health care, said Chowdhury.

Source: Kenya News Agency