In enviable and valiant attempts to cut down costs on AIDS drugs, Kenya is in the process of building the largest AIDS drug factory in Africa at a cost of $100 million. The factory is being constructed under the auspices of the Kenyan government in collaboration with Global Fund and local drug manufacturers.
It is set to open later this year, and it will be the largest drug factory in Africa. What the Kenyan government has in mind is to reduce the reliance on importing drugs from Europe. This will significantly reduce the spending on AIDS drugs. About 1,000 jobs will be available as a result of this factory coming to fruition.
The country’s medical director, Dr Jackson Kioko said, "This will cut our annual government budget from 38bn shillings to a reasonable amount that we spend treating HIV/Aids. This will also put about 300,000 people under treatment."
"In addition, we will supply to other African countries, especially our regional neighbours. The manufacturing plant will cost 10bn shillings in initial costs."
Upon completion, the factory will be able to supply drugs to 23 African countries because it will also be manufacturing malaria and tuberculosis. However these drugs will be produced under patent from European parent companies, including GlaxoSmithKline.
Dr Jackson Kioko added, "There is an increase of fake drugs in the market that have resulted in several cases of drug resistance to the Aids virus as a result of misuse. The fake drugs are supplied by unregistered or fake medical personnel. They convince desperate people to stop antiretroviral therapy and use their alternative products in unrealistic promises of a cure from their ailment."
"Issues to do with fakes will be a thing of the past, but we will also cater for the rising number of new infections each year despite a declining prevalence rate of 5.2%. Most of the fake medicines have been tested by government regulatory agencies and found to be faulty and dangerous."
Currently, it is estimated that 1.5 million people live with HIV/AIDS in Kenya. And from this, about a million people are on antiretroviral treatment. About 90% of antiretrovirals in Kenya are imported, mostly from Europe and Asia.
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