Pharmaceutical production in developing countries

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In Perspective

While health is a crucially important social and economic asset, both infectious and non-communicable diseases pose a major threat to the well-being and prosperity of populations particularly in developing and least developed countries. The disease burden and the attendant human suffering could be alleviated substantially if appropriate and affordable medicines were readily available to treat patients in need.

At the same time, there is growing recognition of the strategic benefits that could be derived in terms of health outcomes and economic growth if the medicine requirements in low-income countries were increasingly satisfied by local pharmaceutical industries with sustainable and high quality production capabilities.

The Project

With financial support of the Government of Germany, UNIDO is running a project that aims at strengthening the local production of essential medicines in developing countries. Although the project’s scope is not subjected to geographical restrictions, Sub-Saharan Africa has evolved as a focus area.

Local pharmaceutical production is faced by a complex set of challenges related to technical aspects of manufacturing and regulation but also originating from the wider operating and business environment. In response to this, UNIDO draws on a combination of advisory, institutional capacity-building and enterprise-level activities. The assistance is positioned at the interface between industrial development and public health, and recognizes that these two agendas are mutually reinforcing.

Project Approach

Policy level

The project facilitates public-private dialogue and provides evidence-based inputs towards the joint formulation and implementation of national pharmaceutical sector development strategies.

Institutional level

The project assists pharmaceutical manufacturers by working with various institutions of relevance for the sector. Services range from specialized training programmes in industrial pharmacy to business membership organizations conducting advocacy activities on behalf of member companies. The project also provides support to medicines regulatory authorities and quality control laboratories.

Enterprise level

The project offers support to companies in assessing feasibility and economic viability of the production of quality medicines. To support manufacturers in their upgrading and expansion efforts, a number of actionable tools and solutions have been designed that can be adjusted to various settings and scales of deployment.

Featured Publication


Commercialising vaccines: A methodology to identify potential market opportunities and conduct outline assessments

Case study: South Africa

Take a look at other project publications here.