Burkina Faso has opened its first pharmaceutical manufacturing plant to make low-cost generic drugs and ensure the uninterrupted availability of common medicines.
The $23 million plant was built through a private initiative by Burkinabe pharmacists. Dr. Palingwindé Armel Coéfé, director-general of Propharm, the company behind the project, led the effort, according to a report in HealthCare Africa magazine.
The plant will start producing the pain reliever paracetamol, the antispasmodic phloroglucinol, and oral rehydration salts and zinc to treat diarrhea, Coéfé said.
The plant was built on a 1.5-hectare site in
Komsilga on the outskirts of the capital, Ouagadougou.
“Our production capacity currently meets local needs and will resolve the problem of drastic supply cuts,” Coéfé told Agence France-Presse.
The facility was undergoing inspections by the National Agency for Pharmaceutical Regulation in August 2022 and was expected to begin production a few months later.
The plant comes at a time when African countries import up to 97% of the pharmaceutical products they use, HealthCare Africa reported. Many imports come from countries such as India and China and turn out to be counterfeit, making them ineffective at best and, at worst, harmful.
Generic drugs also can be up to 30 times more expensive in some African countries compared to the United Kingdom, according to a 2021 report by the French Development Agency and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.