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By Checky Abuje


Lack of trust, language barrier and lack of defined regulatory framework among member states of East Africa have been identified as challenges faced by pharmaceutical industry and now threaten service delivery in the health sector.

The revelations came out from the industry stakeholders meeting convened in Nairobi, Kenya and organised by United States Trade and Development Agency(USTDA), a key partner in pharmaceutical industry in Africa.

AstraZeneka senior regulatory affairs manager Ms Angeline Achoka pointed out that divergent national interests among countries is a pointer to the slow progress towards common good of effective service delivery in the industry, that requires flexibility, early stakeholders engagement and sharing of best practices among member states.

Her sentiment was echoed by the Director of Human Medicine – Burundian Regulatory Authority for Medicines for human use and food Salvator Sindayigaya who said language barrier is a hindrance to realise meaningfully progress in the pharmaceutical industry in the horn of Africa.

Addressing the industry participants drawn from East and Central Africa, United States Trade and Development Agency regional Director for sub saharan Africa Ms Heather Lanigan confirmed their support towards strengthening the sector, noting that USTDA is currently supporting more than 140 activities in the region.

She said   they are focused to extend their support in the continent. “We are committed to scale up the industry for efficiency” remarked Lanigan.

According to Victor Ogallo, Deputy CEO Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), Africa has great potential in the pharmaceutical industry if regional harmonisation of regulations is amicably addressed to create one common market for medical equipments in the continent.

He termed the current operating regulations as “desperate” that cannot attract other investors. “Harmonisation of pharmaceutical regulations will save Africa a huge chunk of money  spent on importing medical equipments. In 2021, Africa spent a whooping USD 25billion on importation of pharmaceuticals” disclosed Ogallo.

Africa has has low spending on pharmaceuticals, with a big fraction of the population spending out of  pocket for lack of shared expenses on medication, making the have low per capita of USD 25 against world average per capita of USD 160.

Stakeholders who included medical professionals resolved to take measure of among others centralisation of systems alongside adopting voluntary compliance on regulations, adoption of technology system that support  online applications to track registration processes.

Source of original article: Africa Science News (
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