Rwanda, Uganda sign medicine imports deal

Posted on : Thursday , 9th October 2014

Rwanda and Uganda have signed a bilateral agreement to open their markets for pharmaceutical products.

In addition, the deal will boost the war against the cross-border trade in fake drugs.

The deal will enhance exchange of information in pharmaceutical products with a framework to promote medical research and development of the pharmaceutical industry.

Officials said the two countries will access drugs manufactured by companies across borders.

Uganda requested Rwanda to consider granting Quality Chemicals Industries Ltd, a pharmaceutical company based in Uganda, access to Rwanda‘s market for antiretroviral, anti-malarial and other drugs.

According to François Kanimba, Rwanda’s Minister for Trade and Industry, both countries will establish a framework to promote medical research and development of the pharmaceutical industry.

Rwanda is among African countries where a 2013 study by American Enterprise showed no fake tuberculosis or antimalarial treatments were found.

The agreement comes at a time East African Community member states are seeking to step up drugs production to cut on costs incurred in imports.

According to the EAC  Secretariat,  member states  kicked off the implementation of the EAC Regional Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plan of Action (EACPMPOA 2012-2016) last year by constituting a project steering committee, but the process is still slow.

The EACPMPOA has been put in place to address the challenges the region is facing in the provision of safe and affordable medicines.
The provision of such medicines and other quality health commodities remains a major challenge in the region due to inadequate local production and over reliance on importation of finished pharmaceutical products from outside the region.

The task before states is how to align existing different national laws and policies on intellectual property rights protection to cater for a new regional framework.

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