Strengthening the local production of essential generic drugs in LDCs

Like other developing countries, Lesotho faces a challenge in ensuring its population’s access to essential drugs at affordable prices. Notwithstanding progress in the supply with essential medicines to combat pandemic diseases in recent years, the gap between the type and volumes of such drugs required and those that the poor can afford remains substantial. One option available to the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to address this shortage against the background of tightened international patenting rules and regulations (TRIPS Agreement) is to stimulate the domestic manufacturing of essential generics: in this context, an extended deadline granted to LDCs for TRIPS compliance (until 2016) is being looked at as a window of opportunity.
The project aims at the establishment and/or expansion and upgrading of SMEs in selected LDCs for the local manufacturing of essential generic drugs, with the objective of enhancing access of the poor to these drugs at affordable prices. This objective is being pursued through a combination of advisory, promotional, institutional capacity building and enterprise-level activities, with the latter taking the form of pilot/demonstration efforts.

Following the preparation of a pharmaceutical sector scan for Lesotho, a company has been pre-selected as a candidate for project support as a pilot plant. UNIDO has conducted a Pre-Feasibility study analyzing the possibility to establish a new pharmaceutical manufacturing facility in Lesotho, complying with international level quality/GMP standards.
The creation of a new pharmaceutical manufacturing facility in Lesotho with sound commercial viability prospects that is able to compete in the market for essential drugs, will improve the supply of medicines, especially against the three pandemics HIV/Aids, malaria and tuberculosis, in Southern Africa.