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Bridging the gap? Local production of medicines on the national essential medicine lists of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda

Lookup NU author(s): Ayo Baldeh, Dr Colin MillardORCiD, Professor Allyson PollockORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


AbstractBackgroundEssential medicines (EMs) are those that satisfy the basic healthcare needs of the population. However, access to EMs remains a global health challenge. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the East African Community (EAC) manufacturing plan 2017–2027 support local production of EMs as a strategy to improve access to medicines. The aim of this study was to determine for each therapeutic class on the national essential medicine lists (NEMLs) of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, the number of EMs produced in each country.MethodsIn 2018, we analysed NEMLs and national drug registers (NDRs) in each country to identify local manufacturers and local products by EM status. For each local manufacturer we determined the number of EM products and individual EMs, and analysed EMs in each therapeutic class by registration status and whether produced locally.ResultsThere were nine companies manufacturing locally in Kenya, four in Tanzania and six in Uganda. Most local medicine products were non-EM products. Of the 946 locally produced products in Kenya, 310 were EM products; of the 97 locally produced products in Tanzania, 39 were EM products; and of the 181 locally produced products in Uganda, 100 were EM products. Many local EM products were duplicate. Only a small proportion of EMs on each NEML were produced locally: 21% (92/430) in Kenya, 5% (24/510) in Tanzania, and 10% (55/526) in Uganda. Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda had no local EM products in 13/32, 17/28 and 15/32 therapeutic classes, respectively. The proportion of EMs that were registered varied across the countries from 327 (76%) in Kenya, 269 (53%) in Tanzania, and 319 (60%) in Uganda.ConclusionsThis study highlights the importance of auditing NDRs and NEMLs for local production to inform regional and national local manufacturing strategies. EMs should be prioritized for local production and drug registration to ensure that production is aligned with local health needs

Publication metadata

Author(s): Baldeh A, Millard C, Pollock AM, Brhlikova P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Pharmaceutical Policy and Practice

Year: 2023

Volume: 16

Print publication date: 19/01/2023

Online publication date: 30/01/2023

Acceptance date: 18/11/2022

Date deposited: 20/07/2023

ISSN (electronic): 2052-3211

Publisher: BMC springer


DOI: 10.1186/s40545-022-00497-x


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