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ZIMBABWE is formulating a Pharmaceutical Development Strategy as it seeks to increase capacity utilisation in the production of medicines, according to a progress report on implementation of Zim-Asset. About 150 000 euro was allocated for the preparatory technical work in support of the revival of the pharmaceutical sector and formulation of the development strategy with the support of United Nations Industrial Development Organisation,.

“The move is expected to increase capacity utilisation for the local production of safe, efficacious and affordable essential medicine in Zimbabwe,” according to the report.

The formulation and implementation of the development strategy is expected to begin next month and will run for a year.

Several pharmaceuticals companies are operating below capacity due to increased direct external donor support for the public health institutions.

In an interview recently, Caps Pharmaceuticals general manager Mr Mujaka said his company was operating at around 20 percent capacity due to sharp decline of its products.

“Between 80 and 90 percent of our products are consumed by the public health institutions and are funded from the fiscus. But due to well documented challenges facing the treasury, the drugs are being donated and we are not getting any orders from NatPharm.

“The donors are not supporting local companies and this has crippled the industry,” he said.

The National Pharmaceutical Company is the State appointed agent for procurement, storage and distribution of medical supplies to public health institutions.

The organisation procures in bulk, for more than 1 450 health institutions around the country.

Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa allocated $1 million towards recapitalisation of Natpharm with additional resources expected to be mobilised through lines of credit.

He said NatPham plays a critical role in the supply of quality and affordable medicines to Public Health Institutions.

Source : The Herald