The Ethiopian government is contemplating to establish a Pharmaceutical Industry Development Institute.
So far the Ethiopian Food, Beverage and Pharmaceutical Industry Development Institute is working with the pharmaceutical industry. However, with the view of developing the pharmaceutical industry the government is now contemplating to form a separate entity, the Ethiopian Pharmaceutical Development Institute.
State Minister of Industry, Mebratu Meles (PhD), told The Reporter that a comprehensive study that identified the potential of the pharmaceutical industry, the obstacles hindering the growth of the sector and measures that should be taken to develop the sector has been undertaken. According to the study, the pharmaceutical industry can generate over one billion dollars from the domestic market only by 2018. The local pharmaceutical sector also eyes the export market after satisfying the local demand.
Ethiopia so far imports 80 percent of the local drug demand from the international market. Of the 500 essential drugs distributed to the society only 100 of them are produced by the local pharmaceutical industry.
In a bid to develop the local pharmaceutical industry, the Industrial Parks Development Corporation is building a pharmaceutical industrial park at Bole Lemi in Addis Ababa. The study undertaken on the pharmaceutical industry shows that significant investment has not been made in the sector and the local factories have limited production capacity. Absence of infrastructure and finance are some of the other challenges facing the sector. “Targeted investment incentives should be granted to the pharmaceutical sector,” Mebratu said. The Office of the Prime Minister has been coordinating the study. The Investment Commission and the Ministry of Industry have been actively participating in the study.
Mebratu said the government is committed to curb the challenges facing the pharmaceutical industry and to take the sector to the next level. “The study reviews the challenges and what should be done to address the issues. Stakeholders have been consulted. Experiences of other countries have been taken into account. The importance of establishing an institute that coordinates and guides the sector has been assessed,” Mebratu said.
Mebratu pointed out that the planned institute would work on human resource development, research and there will be a center of excellence. “The regulatory body should be strengthened in such a way that it can properly regulate the sector. There are counterfeit drugs. All these issues should be addressed,” he said
Studies indicate that 35-40 percent of the drugs available in the local market are counterfeit. In the past several local pharmaceutical factories have been foreclosed by local commercial banks for failing to pay back their loans.
Mebratu said that based on the study a proposal for the establishment of the pharmaceutical industry development institute would be presented for the government for endorsement.