OBSOLETE equipment is currently stifling the operations of the pharmaceutical sector in Zimbabwe amid concerns over the influx of cheap imported drugs and counterfeit products on the market.
This came out in research findings titled, Zimbabwe Pharmaceuticals: Opportunities for Growth and the Possibilities for Medical Cannabis, presented by Innocent Chirisa, a professor at the University of Zimbabwe, during a virtual meeting organised by the International Labour Organisation last week.
He said obsolete equipment was having a negative impact on the sector which had seen some companies closing.
Chirisa said according to research,
“machines are obsolete and prone to frequent breakdowns,”
leading to challenges in production of drugs by the pharmaceutical industry.
“The technological upgrade of the pharmaceutical sector in the country requires comprehensive improvement from manufacturing to service technology,” Chirisa said.
Indications are that the volatile economy, characterised by liquidity challenges and persistent balance of payments deficits, made importation of equipment difficult.
“In Zimbabwe, where labour is relatively inexpensive, the process of complete automation is expected to be gradual.
“According to the current register of licensed pharmaceutical manufacturing premises, there are nine manufacturing enterprises which are registered and strictly guided and monitored by the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe,” Chirisa said.
“The pharmaceutical industry in Zimbabwe focuses on secondary production (processing of finished dosage forms such as tablets, capsules, or injections from raw materials or intermediate products) and tertiary productions (packaging and labelling finished products from primary and secondary sources).
“Active pharmaceutical ingredients which belong to primary production are imported.
“Only four of the eight pharmaceutical companies are grave generic manufacturers. The other four are small with a narrow product range.”