KAMPALA - The East African Community (EAC) member states have resolved to centralise procurement of drugs in an effort to cut costs of importation.
Rwanda is one of the five EAC members expected to benefit from the move, having joined the bloc in June this year after signing the accession treaty.
Uganda’s State Minister for Primary Health, Emmanuel Otaala, disclosed early this week that the EAC has been conducting a two-year study to harmonise the purchase of medicine and food.
“We are yet to start pooling resources together so that we are able to front for cheaper purchases. We have been conducting studies, and we are yet to roll out. So the tendering process will be one at regional level,” Otaala said.
He said they are looking at a harmonised procurement system of vaccines, antiretroviral drugs and ACTs.
He added that they would also harmonise laws governing health standards, exchange medical personnel during emergencies and share information amongst themselves in the sector.
According to Otaala, the innovation has been approved by the EAC Council of Ministers.
After concluding the studies, he added, the project will be tabled before the next summit.
“This common focus is intended to raise better economies of scale and cater for value for money. We shall, therefore, have a better bargaining power when ordering for importation of drugs,” he explained.
According to the draft plan, the partner states’ respective drug agencies will be under an overall food and drug administration arrangement for efficiency and harmony with the EAC treaties and protocols in the area of regulation.