THE Zimbabwean Government should come up with policies that ensure the local pharmaceutical industry from manufacturers to retailers comes up with reasonable prices for medicines.
By Kudakwashe Pembere
This was said by the Indian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Ras Masakui who was represented by his attache Mr Belu Romani on Saturday at the inaugural Retail Pharmacies Association of Zimbabwe conference.
“The Government of India set up a well functioning regulatory system. The Central Drugs Control Standard Organisation (CDCSO) is the apex national drug regulatory authority. The primary objective of the CDCSO is to ensure the delivery of safe, superior quality effective drugs, cosmetics and medical devices to the public.
“The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPA) which was instituted in 1997 fixes or revises the prices of decontrolled bulk drugs and formulations at judicious intervals and exclusion of drugs in accordance with established guidelines; maintains data on production, exports and imports and market share of pharmaceutical firms; enforces and monitors the availability of medications in addition to imparting inputs to Parliament in issues pertaining to drug pricing,” the Ambassador said.
Mr Masakui said in 2008 they introduced a public medicine scheme called Jan Aushadi which makes available quality generic medicines at affordable prices equivalent in quality and efficacyas expensive branded drugs to all citizens through a special outlet called the Jan Aushadhi Store opened in each district of the Indian states.
“JAS can be opened and operated by any non-governmental organisation, institution, cooperative society identified by State Governments on the free space provided in the premises of Government Hospitals by the State Governments.
“The present government has taken it up with more enthusiasm and has revamped the scheme in September 2015 as ‘Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Yojana’ (PMJAY),” he said.
He challenged Government and players in the pharmaceutical industry to provide high quality and affordable medicines.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the purpose of unfolding the above is not to boast of India’s achievement, neither is an effort to benchmark the best Pharmaceutical practices to India’s experience but to throw up a challenge for all participants both Government and private stakeholders here gathered to provide quality and affordable pharmaceutical care to the people of Zimbabwe.
“What we are today in India does not happen in a day but consistent efforts of all stakeholders to ensure that our population have access to quality and affordable medicines,” said Masakui.
Masakui added that while it is the primary responsibility of governments to create a policy environment, the private healthcare industry should take advantage of enabling legislation and invest in high quality medical facilities.
“This is a call for innovative ideas from all concerned. As we make our deliberations today, let us keep in mind that we should create ways of ensuring that the quality of service provided by this noble profession is second to none I wish to urge policy makers, regulators, manufacturers, wholesalers, community pharmacists and educators to work together for the benefit of the patient. I would like to remind you that as pharmacists dispensing medicines to patient means you are the interface between the pharmacy supply chain and the patient. Community pharmacists should be accessible to the public and give expert advice as required,” he said.