60 per cent of drugs are to be made locally in Tanzanian through local companies the health minister has said. This plan that is expected to kick off in the next five years was recently announced by the government.
Dr Hamisi Kigwangala the Deputy Minister for Health, Social Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, informed the National Assembly on Tuesday that a special strategy to ensure the target is reached was at advanced stage.
He was responding to a question raised by Mr Juma Nkamia (Chemba-CCM) who wanted to be informed on the plans put in place by the government to ensure that patients get prescribed medicines at prices that are affordable.
Moreover, Dr Kigwangala said the government plans to set up a special body tasked to set indicative prices for all health facilities and all pharmacies and all health facilities in the country. “We are working with the Ministry of Trade and Industry in a special strategy in which in the next five years, 60 per cent of all medicines needed are manufactured locally.
The minister added that the ministry is committed to reducing the money spent on importation of drugs and improve patient care services.
Additionally, Dr Kigwangala said the Medical Stores Department (MSD) has developed a plan in which they intend to buy medicines directly from the manufacturers so as to guarantee both availability and affordable prices.
Community Medical Stores Department
Responding to the supplementary question raised by Ms Lolensia Bukwimba (Busanda-CCM) regarding when the ministry should establish MSD community outlets in the districts and regional hospital as it is with national and zonal hospitals; Dr Kigwangala said the policy prohibited them from doing so.
Mr Ridhiwani Kikwete (Chalinze-CCM) wanted clarification on reports in sections of the media alleging that the Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) will be selling all drugs even those that are offered freely.
The Minister for Health Ummy Mwalimu said she will write to the MNH, demanding an explanation since it was against the policy.