Rwanda will host the new African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation, an African Development Bank (AfDB) entity aimed at improving the continent’s access to technology in the manufacture of medicines and vaccines.
AfDB said the foundation is vital to helping African pharmaceutical companies better scout for technology and negotiate with global pharmaceutical companies to facilitate local production of the essential health products that account for up to US$14 billion of Africa’s income annually.
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AfDB President dr Akinwumi Adesina said the project involves “transforming Africa’s pharmaceutical industry, building Africa’s vaccine manufacturing capacity and building Africa’s high quality healthcare infrastructure.” p>
The continent is currently home to some 375 pharmaceutical companies that annually produce less than 25 percent of the products they need, forcing countries to import at scale to meet demand.
AfDB says the foundation will now support the “direct implementation of trade-related intellectual property rights (trips) on non-exclusive or exclusive licensing of proprietary technologies, know-how and processes,” which should give pharmaceutical companies a boost in production capacity.
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“Even with the World Trade Organization (WTO) decision to waive trips, millions are dying – and most likely will.” continue to die – due to the lack of vaccines and effective protection,” said Dr. Adesina.
According to WTO Director General Dr. For Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the company provides “part of the necessary infrastructure to ensure a thriving pharmaceutical industry in Africa.”
Tedros Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, said the foundation is “a turning point in acceleration of African pharmaceutical companies’ access to IP-protected technologies and know-how in Africa.”
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