By Darious Magara
Quality Chemical Industries Ltd (QCIL), the state of the art pharmaceutical manufacturing plant based in Luzira is to start manufacturing Tenofovir, a modern Antiretroviral (ARV) drug in which a patient will be able to swallow one tablet a day.
The Chief Commercial Officer, George Baguma said they were now installing equipment in their second phase investment of $50 million at their Luzira based plant and expect it to be operational in December 2011.
Baguma made the revelation last evening while briefing the first deputy Premier and minister of East African Community (EAC) Affairs Eriya Kategaya who toured the plant.
He said they are targeting to become Africa’s leading producer of high quality and affordable medicines for malaria and HIV/AIDS but faced impediments of lacking access to markets to the entire East African community.
“We are doing well with the Ugandan market and are supplying ARV drugs to half of the population that need it but we need to also capture the entire EAC market” Baguma said
“We have advanced in finalizing arrangements with the Kenyan Government to supply them with ARV drugs but the process will be expedited by your political influence” he told Kategaya.
Kategaya said was impressed with their investment and future plans and promised to market their products to the East African states.
He advised the company to float its shares and meet other trade related certifications to be able to compete both on the continent and globally.
QCIL’s Marketing Manager, Edwin Kwesiga said they have capacity to produce medicines for the East Africa Community states and a consistent and ready market in the EAC region will be even better served after the phase two expansion project is complete. He further stated QCIL has a vision of becoming a centre of manufacturing excellence for quality and affordable medicines in Sub Saharan Africa.
Mr Kwesiga appealed to the EAC minister to lobby the other EAC member states to consider imposing a tax on medicines that are imported yet local pharmaceuticals have capacity to produce them.
QCIL exists as an additional contract manufacturing site for CIPLA Ltd, which manufactures and sells combination therapy antiretroviral and anti-malarial drugs that have proven to be most effective in combating HIV/AIDS and Malaria. QCIL is also the only World Health Organization (WHO) pre-qualified pharmaceutical plant in East Africa.
Baguma said QCIL’s partnership with CIPLA Ltd of India ensures constant access to the most recent technology and product development while providing best global business practices.
“This ensures that as a nascent company, QCIL can compete with global pharmaceutical giants on product quality and price, specifically in Africa” he added.
In March 2010, the World Health Organization (WHO) pre-qualified the facility as a contract manufacturing plant for CIPLA Limited, India and then began approving manufactured medicines.
The site is also accredited by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi), Pharmacy and Poisons Board of Kenya, Tanzania Food and Drug Authority (TFDA), and the National Drug Authority of Uganda (NDA).
Baguma also said they faced other infrastructural problems such as actuating electricity power supply but said they were following up the matter with the Uganda Investment Authority and the ministry of energy to be connected to a 24 hours power supply grid.