New law to reduce cost of medicine – Health ministry

A pharmacist at Unique Pharmacy drugstore in Kigali. Bahizi Craish.

The Lower House on Monday approved the new draft law governing Rwanda Biomedical Centre, that seeks to give autonomy to Medical Procurement and Production Division.

According to the Ministry of Health, the move will eliminate delays in delivery of drugs to hospitals and health, guarantee steady supply and reduce the cost of medicine.

“Most importantly, the new law will give all Rwandans an assurance that there will be no such cases of stock out anymore,” Patrick Ndimubanzi, the State Minister of Public Health and Primary Health Care said, adding the proposed law will address the long period it takes to import drugs from abroad.

Dr Patrick Ndimubanzi, the state minister for public and primary healthcare, addresses MPs on the new law governing Rwanda Biomedical Centre (Sam Ngendahimana)

The Minister cited scenarios where it takes government long duration to important drugs for curing tuberculosis drugs.

Medical Procurement and Production Division has been working under Rwanda Biomedical Centre.

Members of Parliament follow the presentation of the report

Under the new arrangement, Medical Procurement and Production Division will be run as a private entity, which will in turn ensure flexibility in its procurement process.

However, Ndimubanzi also said that despite being a private organisation, the body is wholly owned by the Government of Rwanda.

Officials at Rwanda Biomedical Centre said that making Medical Procurement and Production Division independent will improve on its accounting systems

MP Ignatienne Nyirarukundo supported the proposed law, saying that close co-ordination of services between the newly approved independent body and Rwanda Biomedical Centre was necessary.

MP Christine Muhongayire presents the report as MP Frank Habineza looks on at the Parliamentary Buildings yesterday (Sam Ngendahimana)

MP Christine Muhongayire emphasised that there will be an optional placement of employees to the two entities.

“Those who may not feel like working with a private company there should be a mechanism of placing them in different jobs through the Ministry of Public Service and labour,” she said.

Rwanda Biomedical Centre owes Rwf4.8 billion to the Medical Procurement and Production Division stemming from unpaid dues for drugs supplied.

Under the changes in the draft law, Muhongayire said, RBC will oversee the implementation of health related policies on behalf of the ministry part from the procurement of drugs.