A Tanzanian senior official said on Friday the country planned to buy drugs directly from manufacturers bypassing middlemen blamed for the hiking of drugs costs.

“Buying drugs directly from manufacturers will help reduce the cost of the drugs,” Minister for Health Ummy Mwalimu told a news conference in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam.

She said the government through the Medical Stores Department (MSD) has 73 contractual agreements with local and international pharmaceutical companies, a move that is expected to lower prices of drugs to a quarter of what most prices are quoted at present.

Mwalimu said the decision was part of the implementation of a directive by President John Magufuli to obtain medical drugs directly from manufacturers so as to reduce drugs costs and ensure improved drug availability in hospitals.

She added that implementation of the directive commenced at the start of the new financial year on July 1.

“Out of the manufacturers we have signed the contracts with, 10 of them are local while the rest are foreign firms,” said the minister.

Mwalimu said previously middlemen were central to the whole process of procurement, storage and supply of drugs, an arrangement now slipping into the dustbin of history.

Previously MSD was procuring medical drugs from about 20 countries including Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Mwalimu said a reduction in procurement costs will enhance the purchasing power of dispensaries and health centers to obtain bigger stock than at present.

The minister said out of the 73 contracts signed with manufactures, 46 firms were from Uganda, Denmark, China, France, Germany, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, Bangladesh, India and Kenya as well as local drug manufacturers.

MSD will also purchase a range of equipment from other countries, she said. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh