The Sunday Mail
CAPS Pharmaceuticals – Zimbabwe’s country’s largest pharmaceuticals manufacturer – will reopen two plants that produce drips and penicillin, creating scores of jobs and boosting production by 30 percent.
The pharmaceutical industry has come under the spotlight amid a shortage of medicines.
CAPS CEO Mr Justice Majaka said the two plants will “be back in production in 2019”.
“The company is being resuscitated and it has the most diverse product portfolio in the region, ranging from tablets, injectables, creams, liquids, drips, penicillin and antibiotics.
“There are plans underway to resuscitate two more manufacturing plants for penicillin and drips respectively. The two plants are expected to be back in production in 2019,” said Mr Majaka.
CAPS is getting less than 50 percent of its foreign currency requirements from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, and the company says should this be rectified, it will expand its businesses and eventually wean itself off reliance on central Government.
Mr Majaka said, “With more products being produced, we will be able to export and generate more foreign currency to meet our import requirements and rely less on RBZ allocations. Going forward, there will be even more locally produced products in the market.”
Government support has boosted the company’s capacity and operations, and CAPS has improved its product offerings from 24 in 2017 to over 100 this year.
“Production capacity is at 40 percent. . .We are currently not working with any partners, but the shareholders are in the process of identifying a suitable investor to partner with,” Mr Majaka said.
In April, Indian firm Ajanta Pharmaceutical’s co-founder and vice-chair Mr Madhusudan Agrawal Ajanta said he had signed a letter of intent with Government to take over the firm, promising to bring in new machinery and technology.
The 45-year-old Mumbai-based company operates in more than 30 emerging countries in Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
Of the more than 260 drugs on the Essential Drug List of Zimbabwe, local firms supply around 122, or 46 percent of requirements.
In terms of development and sophistication, the local industry used to be second in Sadc after South Africa. Exports went to Angola, Botswana, DRC, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, the West Indies and Zambia.
Varichem, for example, was once the only company in Sub-Saharan Africa producing generic three–in-one ARVs.
Pharmaceutical Society of Zimbabwe president Mr Portifa Mwendera said last week the resuscitation of Caps was vital for cutting the import bill.
Last month, the sector received $6,7 million in letters of credit from Government. However, the industry says it needs $4 million weekly to return to normalcy.
“We continue to urge Government to provide an enabling environment for the promotion of locally manufactured products,” said Mr Mwendera.