By Ronald Kalyango
UGANDA has started manufacturing Amlodipine, the drug which reduces high blood pressure to normal. The drug is being manufactured under the brand name, Cardipac, by Kampala Pharmaceutical Industries (KPI), a drug manufacturing company which is part of the Aga Khan Development Network.
Launching the drug at Pearl Afrique Hotel in Gulu district on Saturday, KPIâ€™s business development manager Antony Kuria said the drug helps patients with high blood pressure live long.
Kuria said hypertension is a silent killer because it does not get as much attention as other diseases like malaria and HIV/AIDS.
Kuria said the drug was launched at a cost 50% lower than many imported brands. The chairman of the Uganda Diabetes Association (UDA), Prof. Marcel Otim, who is also the head of the endocrine unit at the department of medicine at Mulago, said high blood pressure is a serious problem to patients suffering from diabetes.
Studies carried out by Otim at the Kadiac Diabetes Centre, showed that up to 63% of patients with diabetes suffered from high blood pressure, a condition he referred to as the metabolic syndrome.
This is because diabetes tends to weaken the walls of the heart and arteries. Kuria gave 36,000 Cardipac and 5,000 formin tablets to Otim to be used for treating patients at Gulu University Teaching Hospital.
Alice Lamwaka, a practitioner at the hospital, said there were over 2,000 diabetic and 15,000 high blood pressure patients in the district. The Gulu district chairperson, Nobert Mao, asked the Government to give priority to non-communicable diseases as it does with malaria, tuberclosis and HIV/AIDS.