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Hon Francine Rutazana has been granted leave to introduce a Bill to promote Access to essential medicines and pharmaceuticals promoted within the Community

New Bill to promote access to medicines in the offing

…… Hon Rutazana granted leave by House

East African Legislative Assembly, Arusha, December 5th 2019: A new Bill that will see access to essential medicines and promotion of the local pharmaceutical industry is set to be introduced. The Assembly has this afternoon granted EALA Member, Hon Francine Rutazana, leave to introduce the Bill entitled the East African Community Pharmaceuticals Bill, 2019.

The Bill shall among other things, aims to promote and boost medicines and pharmaceuticals produced in the EAC region, regulate good manufacturing practices and quality standards and ensure the mutual recognition of registration of medicines.

At the same time, the Bill seeks to promote preference for pharmaceuticals produced in the Community during the public procurement processes and for related matters. The Bill also seeks to designate the national pharmaceutical authority in Partner States that shall be responsible for the pharmaceutical matters provided for under the Act.

As the House rose today, the mover, Hon Francine Rutazana moved a motion under Article 49 (1) and 59(1) of the Treaty and Rule 26 of the Rules of Procedure.

The mover avers that reliable access to affordable and quality assured medicines in East Africa remains a huge challenge since most of the medicines in the Community are still paid for directly by citizens through out of pocket models.   It is anticipated that one of the ways by which the Community can both improve availability of essential medicines and their quality, is to promote and support local production of essential medicines required by the Community.

The motion notes that discrepancies in the registration procedures for essential medicines still exist and remain a great challenge as currently provided for by the national health policies and regulations in the Partner States. 

Despite the challenges, it is also stated that the Community has not established favourable policies for the local produces or in their adequate promotion to enable them to effectively compete with imported drugs.

Contributing to the motion, Hon Gai Deng said ensuring access to medication was a key objective for sustainable development. She remarked that despite huge advances in Universal Health Access, there was still major discrepancies with regards to regulation, and access. “The motion is timely, given the need to strengthen the implementation of the roadmap by the EAC Secretariat”, Hon Deng said.

On her part, Hon Amb Fatuma Ndangiza, termed the Bill timely saying the promotion of access to medicines would enable the EAC populace to be healthy. She lauded the need for providing preferential treatment to local pharmaceuticals saying that currently, only 30% of the market demand was satisfied by the local production. 

“We are losing out on jobs and employment opportunities and industrialization can be boosted by enhancing local production”, Hon Ndangiza said.  The legislator also called for enhancing of the regulatory framework to ensure its realization.

Other Members who supported the formulation of the Bill were Hon Dr Woda Jeremiah Odok, Hon Abdikadir Aden, Hon Dr Gabriel Alaak.

- ENDS -

For more information, please contact:

Bobi Odiko
Senior Public Relations Officer
East African Legislative Assembly
Arusha, Tanzania
Tel: +255-27-2508240
Fax: +255-27-2503103
Cell: +255-787-870945, +254-733-718036
Email: BOdiko [at] eachq.org
Web: www.eala.org

About the East African Legislative Assembly:

The East African Legislative Assembly is the Legislative Organ of the East African Community. Its Membership consists of a total of 62, of whom 54 are elected Members (9 from each Partner State) and eight ex-officio members (the Ministers responsible for EAC Affairs from the Partner States, the Secretary General of the Community and the Counsel to the Community).

The East African Legislative Assembly has legislative functions as well as oversight of all East African Community matters.  The enactment of legislation of the Community is put in effect by means of Bills passed by the Assembly and assented to by the Heads of State, and every Bill that has been duly passed and assented to become an Act of the Community and takes precedent over similar legislations in the Partner States.  EALA has to date passed more than 80 pieces of legislation.

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