The Sunday Mail
A United States medical equipment manufacturing company, Waters Corp, has donated US$500 000 worth of medical research equipment.
The equipment will advance local studies in medical marijuana as well as conduct quality assurance tests on drugs imported or manufactured locally.
The donation, which was received recently, has been made to the University of Zimbabwe’s international pharmacology specialty laboratory located at the Medicine Control Authority of Zimbabwe’s premises, the only one of its kind in the country.
This development is expected to save the country millions of dollars that was being used previously by sending drug samples to South Africa and India for procedural tests.
Now, local drug manufacturers will be able to conduct such tests locally. These tests are compulsory and aim to determine whether drugs match intentional standards and are the right concentration, before they are released to the public.
The Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr Obadiah Moyo, confirmed the donation but said his ministry will release more information when the equipment is officially commissioned.
“I will have to be there and see it and we will invite you guys (the media) to come and cover the event. I will speak about it then,” he said.
Waters Corp, which is a leading company in the US, has donated the equipment with the hope that as Zimbabwe grows its medical marijuana industry, it will acquire such equipment from them.
Mrs Faithful Chingombe, a UZ clinical trials research centre laboratory supervisor, said the equipment will be available for use to all pharmaceutical companies, scientists and institutions of higher learning for a fee.
“This will benefit the whole country, we are a research-based institution and medical research benefits the country. All postgraduate students, other institutions will be able to access this equipment at a fee of course because it will need to be maintained. It is immovable so they will all be able to access it here.
“The equipment will support clinical drug trials including the emerging use of medicinal cannabis as well as conduct studies for the local pharmaceutical industries,” she said.
The equipment will boost the capacity of Zimbabwean pharmaceutical industries to produce medicines locally by carrying out studies to determine the quality of drugs.
The newly equipped laboratory will be able to perform quality surveillance of anti-retroviral (ARV’s), anti-TB and anti-malarial drugs. Testing of such drugs is to ensure that drugs imported or donated to the country are not harmful.
It will also measure toxicity and has increased sensitivity that can even determine the type of ARV’s used by a person through tests done on hair samples.
Waters Corp was wooed by Health Galaxy Park, a health-sector investment vehicle created by technocrats from the University of Zimbabwe.
It came on board together with other 18 big American corporates who are dangling US$400 million in investment commitments to Zimbabwe. The firms have since initiated regulation formalities with Harare.
One of the firms, Stanley Brothers Biotech Inc., a medical marijuana products manufacturer, is eager to invest in medical marijuana production in Zimbabwe.