Quality Chemicals has asked government to ban or impose heavy tariffs on imported anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) in order to protect locally manufactured drugs.
In a meeting with the Committee on HIV/AIDS and Related Matters, the Chief Executive Officer CIPLAQCIL, Mr. Nevin Bradford, said government gave Quality Chemicals monopoly to supply ARVS but it had failed to respect terms of the Memorandum of Understanding signed with the firm.
He added that without proper actualization of the Ugandan market as promised by government, Quality Chemicals found it difficult to stabilise and lower the prices of ARVs produced locally.
“Quality Chemicals receives only 20% funding from government; the rest is donor funded by groups like Global Fund, and this is in contravention of our agreement,” Bradford explained.
“Government should review the patent law in order to prevent countries like India and China from producing and flooding the Ugandan market with drugs that can be produced locally,” the Executive Director (Commercial Affairs), Mr. George Baguma said.
He said that banning the importation of ARVs would force Global Fund to buy locally produced drugs.
Mr. Baguma said that with the limited access to the local market, the company was making losses, forcing them to look for alternative foreign markets.
“The company has spread its wings to countries like Kenya, Cameroon, Tanzania and Angola where we are currently trying to sell our drugs,” said Mr. Baguma.
Honourable Sarah Mwebaza (NRM, Kibuku district) noted that drugs produced and sold by Quality Chemicals were expensive than others on the market.
Committee Chairperson, Hon Sarah Netalisire, said the Committee would invite the Ministry of Health to respond to issues raised by Quality Chemicals.