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KEMRI calls on gov’t to ban importation of drugs

Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) wants the government to regulate the importation of medical products, promote locally manufactured products and drive sustainability.

KEMRI acting director General    Professor Elija Maritim Songok regretted that eight percent of medical products are imported thus denying local pharmaceutical products a stab in the local markets.

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“We are driving the innovation agenda, those products from pharmaceuticals we need to stay sustainable, as we come up with these innovations because eight percent of the medical products are imported and that is not sustainable for the country,” said Songok.

Speaking at the Mombasa ASK show Songok now wants the government to bar the importations to cushion the country from shocks of disruptions of global supply chains and foreign exchange.

“When you have the issue of supply chain breakdown, like we saw during the covid-19 then the country will suffer but now when we go to local production, the products are cheaper and saves us from the issues of foreign exchange,” he added.

Songok is now asking the government to support Research and development in getting out the innovations stating that 60 percent of the funding for innovations is dependent on foreign funding.

“We need to support our research and development; we are really asking the government to help us in getting out these innovations, sometimes we use 60 percent of our foreign funding, which is not sustainable, we need to look at our own priorities, “he added.

KEMRI officials decried that markets have also posed a challenge to researchers, innovators and manufacturers of locally manufactured medical materials saying that local players need protection from the government.

“We are very happy that KEMSA is now working with KEMRI, and we want to see that the supply chain supports local products, we need to be protected by the government, because continued importation is going to discuss local innovations.

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