The news of the completion of the Burkina Faso drug production plant was received with cheers, not only in the country but across the continent. The pharmaceutical plant will specialize in the production of generic drugs.
The first batch of drugs from Burkina Faso’s new drug production plant will hit the market in a few months. According to the managing director of the plant, Armel Coéfé, this will include a rehydration salt kit for the treatment of diarrhea and paracetamol.
The country’s Prime Minister Albert Ouedraogo paid a visit to the drug manufacturing plant on Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2022. During the tour of the facility, Ouedraogo hinted at the motivation behind its creation and how it will impact the lives of the citizens.
“At the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, it dawned on us the need to build a local facility for the production of pharmaceuticals. This facility will make vital medicines available at low cost to the population.”
How Burkina Faso drug production plant will impact the people
The most obvious benefit of having a local drug production plant is that it makes vital medicines readily available. During the COVID-19 pandemic, patients with special needs like those that needed insulin were finding it hard to get them because every attention and resource was channeled towards fighting the pandemic.
Also, with the disruption in the supply chain around the globe, crucial medications are often taking longer to arrive at their destination. Having local Burkina Faso drug production plants means those drugs will be readily available.
Echoing this sentiment, Coéfé said, “We currently have the capacity to produce enough for local demand. This will help to solve the problem of sweeping supply cuts.”
Producing locally also means that the drugs will likely be more affordable. The initiative will save the government millions of dollars spent annually to import generic drugs. According to statistics from the United Nations COMTRADE database on international trade, Burkina Faso spent $249.01 million in 2021 on pharmaceuticals.
The brains behind the pharmaceutical facility
The Burkina Faso drug production plant is a product of a private sector initiative and was named Propharm. The drug manufacturing facility sits on 1.5 hectares in Komsilga which is on the outskirts of Ouagadougou.
The Burkina Faso drug production facility has been certified by an independent Spanish organization. Consequently, it will start producing phloroglucinol (an antispasmodic), paracetamol 500mg, and an oral rehydration kit containing salt and zinc for diarrhea treatment.
The facility is already eyeing the expansion of its production capacity according to Coéfé. This includes the production of drugs for malaria management.
Propharm is currently in its last pre-marketing step which is the inspection of the produced batches of drugs by the National Agency for Pharmaceutical Regulation.
Africa’s drive to drug sustainability
Africa is currently pushing towards drug sustainability. On June 23, 2022, the president of Rwanda, Paul Kagame performed a groundbreaking ceremony for the building of Africa’s first mRNA drug and vaccine manufacturing plant in Kigali. The construction project is expected to take 18 months.
When completed, the facility is expected to produce vaccines against malaria, tuberculosis, and COVID-19. The facility will also have a biomedical school where professionals will be trained to man the industry. Speaking at the event, President Kagame said,
“This groundbreaking is a historic milestone towards vaccine equity. The land we are standing on is dedicated to BioPharma manufacture. I am happy to announce that the cabinet has approved the establishment of the Africa biomanufacturing institute which will provide training and qualification for this industry. “
It is warming to see that Africa is now working towards drug equity and sustainability. The current system where Africa imports most of its drug needs is not sustainable. Africa often has peculiar challenges that the West and East may not properly understand like Africans.
By taking the lead in drug production, Africans can be sure of the sustainability of drug availability, regardless of global supply chain disruptions.
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