Kemsa accused of side-lining local drug manufacturers
TRADE: Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) has been put on the spot for side-lining local manufacturers when issuing contracts for the supply of medical products in the country despite intensified efforts to promote local capacity.
The move by the State agency allegedly has forced Kenyan manufacturers to rely on pockets of medical facilities that accept direct supply to penetrate the market, limiting them from reaching out to the major government facilities and other big hospitals that mainly contract Kemsa.
Kemsa has now been pressured by the Ministry of Trade and Investment to offer an explanation over the matter to both local players and President William Ruto who has been championing the promotion of local manufacturing in Kenya.
“Invite the president to attend a conference between Kemsa and local manufacturers for Kemsa to explain why they cannot buy from the local manufacturers,” Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Investments, Trade and Industry (MITA) Moses Kuria said in a presentation to parliament.
Local manufacturers comprise Cosmos Pharmaceutical, Universal Corporation Limited, Biodeal Laboratories Ltd, Regal Pharmaceuticals Ltd, Comet Healthcare Ltd and Sphinx Pharmaceuticals Ltd, among others but are hardly contracted to supply products.
Kenyan manufacturers are currently walking a tightrope due to the high production costs of pharmaceuticals, partly due to the importation of raw materials (active ingredients) from counties such as India and China, making many players revert to the distribution model to cut costs.