1 Unreliable medicine supply systems continue to hamper access. Some of the perceived benefits of local production include:
* Local production will save foreign exchange;
* Local production creates jobs, thus alleviating poverty and promoting social development;
* Technology transfer is aided by local production facilitates;
* Local production will stimulate exports;
* Raw materials produced locally will be readily available and at a lower cost;
* Local production will improve self-sufficiency in drug supply.
2 The leadership of the African Union is committed to ensuring access to essential medicines for countries in need, irrespective of their level of technological development and manufacturing capacity.
3 Pharmaceutical production is capital, technology and knowledge intensive. Technical expertise is absolutely critical, both in terms of sufficient numbers and appropriate skills. The critical factor is the ability of education systems to produce sufficient numbers of skilled personnel in a sustainable manner. It will be necessary to form strong linkages with universities and funders to ensure a sustainable supply of required skills. Africans in the Diaspora can probably assist in this regard, although incentives may have to be identified. At this moment there are very few technical experts with the appropriate qualification and experience to enable the continent to go into large scale primary manufacturing.
4 At national and regional level, the legislative framework needs to be conducive to regionalised local production. This extends beyond legislation that ensures good manufacturing, distribution, laboratory and clinical practice, but also extends to legislation regulating related duties on imported raw materials and intermediates, in addition to related taxes.
5 Pricing policies and legislation linked to market size also have an impact on the extent to which local production can be expanded.
6 A strong link between academic and industrial research needs to be fostered. Technology transfer can meaningfully occur when there is a level of primary production. Innovative manufacturing is in the hands of a few multinationals that have drastically reduced the number of manufacturing sites to a few niche areas around the globe, ideally located close to the more lucrative markets. Location is also influenced by favourable labour costs. A few examples of...