The Kenya Association of Pharmaceutical Industry (KAPI), a regulator within the country’s healthcare sector, has expressed its commitment to facilitating a progressive reduction in the cost of Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) medicines locally.
The announcement served as a response to a public call by Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta to international pharmaceutical firms, to reduce the cost of NCD medicines.
KAPI has now confirmed ongoing efforts to affordably deliver essential medicines in Kenya. The efforts, are rolling out under a stakeholder initiative dubbed ‘Access Accelerated’.
The goal of Access Accelerated, in partnership with the World Bank Group and the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), is to work towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target to reduce premature deaths from NCDs by one-third by 2030.
Access Accelerated companies operating in Kenya include: Bayer, Bristol-Myers Eli Lilly and Company, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, MSD, Novartis, Pfizer, Roche and Sanofi, among others.
The Association, which comprises leading international and local pharmaceutical firms, is also collaborating with the Ministry of Health to address non-tariff barriers affecting the pricing of medicines in the local market.
KAPI Chairperson, Dr. Anastasia Nyalita said the Association’s members have been undertaking public awareness programmes geared at educating Kenyans to exercise healthy living and preventive strategies as the most cost-effective measures against disease; especially lifestyle NCDs.
Speaking from New York, when he addressed a plenary session on the prevention and control of NCDs at the ongoing 73rd session on United Nations General Assembly in New York, this past week, President Kenyatta stated that access to essential medicines and technologies is key for effective management of NCDs.
NCDs, including cancers, cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory disease, diabetes and mental health disorders are the leading causes of death and disability worldwide. This places a double burden on communities and economies around the world already combating infectious diseases.
“I call on non-state actors including the pharmaceutical industries and private health service providers to partner with governments to bring down costs of treatment through fair pricing and ethical practices,” he said.
The President said Kenya aims to guarantee access to quality NCD care through an integrated primary health care approach that emphasizes preventive and promotive health intervention that encourages the adoption of healthy lifestyles.
The Head of State added that the government has committed itself to investing in additional and sustainable domestic financing to halt and reverse the burden of NCDs.
“To this end, we are embracing strategic partnerships and harnessing innovations from the private sector and other non-state actors in the entire continuum of NCDs,” he said
According to KAPI Chairperson, Dr. Nyalita, the Association is playing a leading role in the local rollout of the global Access Accelerated initiative. Access Accelerated is a first-of-its-kind, multi-stakeholder collaboration focused on improving NCD care.
“KAPI, is working closely with the Ministry of Health among other stakeholders to address causative factors to the local cost of essential medicine and other pharmaceutical products, Dr Nyalita said.
She added that channel inefficiencies and excessive markup charges which contribute immensely to the unsustainable cost of medicine are currently under review.
Launched at last year’s World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland, Access Accelerated is an initiative spearheaded by twenty-two leading biopharmaceutical companies that have joined hands to advance the access to non-communicable (NCD) prevention and care agenda in low and lower-middle income countries including Kenya.
Dr. Nyalita said the ‘Access Accelerated’ programme is already providing much needed impetus to facilitate sustainable NCD management.