Pharmaceutical Sector Profile: Zimbabwe. Global UNIDO Project: Strengthening the Local Production of Essential Generic Drugs in Least Developed and Developing Countries
(2011; 64 pages)


This report analyses the pharmaceutical manufacturing sector in Zimbabwe with a strong emphasis on generic essential medicines used in the management of Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS), Malaria and Tuberculosis. Four companies namely, CAPS Private Limited, Datlabs, Plus Five Pharmaceuticals and Varichem Pharmaceuticals are profiled.

The pharmaceutical market in Zimbabwe is a relatively modest one with a balanced set of supply and demand fundamentals. Although there is a huge need for medicines used in the management of the three disease areas, the funding gap is too wide to meet this need. On the supply side, local generic manufacturing companies have relatively balanced product portfolios and are able to supply some 47 per cent of medicines by item on the Essential Drug List for Zimbabwe (EDLIZ). However, these portfolios are aged and highly commoditized resulting in poor export performance and intense competition from foreign suppliers, especially those of Indian origin.

Despite the balanced product portfolios of local generic pharmaceutical companies, the speed of generic drug product development and launch on the Zimbabwean pharmaceutical market is very slow as is evident from the absence of current therapies in local companies’ portfolios for the management of malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.

There are no up-to-date studies reviewing the prices of essential medicines, trends over time, affordability and availability. The last such study was carried out in 2004. However, research carried out in the framework of this report revealed that the prices of medicines in Zimbabwe are generally higher than international prices and that purchasing power for medicines among the population is very low.

With respect to local production of pharmaceuticals, at policy level there is a perceived conflict between industrial policy, which aims to promote local manufacture, and health policy, which aims for maximum access to essential medicines. In the area of antiretrovirals (ARVs), procurement of imported medicines by the Ministry of Health, thereby sidelining a local manufacturer of the same products, is an example of these conflicting objectives. The overall importance of local pharmaceutical manufacturers cannot be overemphasized given their contribution to the production of essential medicines (47 per cent of items on the Essential Drug List for Zimbabwe). Nonetheless, there is a need to widen local manufacturers’ product portfolios to cover combination tuberculosis and antimalarial drugs and certain specific ARVs which are not being locally manufactured...

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