The parliamentary budget committee is concerned about the expense of anti-retroviral drugs made in Uganda.
Rose Akol Okulu, chairperson of the budget committee, said today that the price of anti-retroviral drugs sold by Quality Chemicals Limited, a Kampala-based pharmaceutical company, is considerably more expensive than drugs imported into Uganda.
Quality Chemicals, located in Luzira, just outside Kampala, is one of the first factories in African to manufacture anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) for people living with HIV and AIDS. It's opening was heralded as a breakthrough into the availability of cheap ARVs for poor Ugandans.
Akol Okulu said the price of the drugs defeats the purpose of local production of essential anti-AIDS medicines.
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Akol said the Ministry of Health has not explained the cost difference. She said her committee is also concerned that Quality Chemicals has not been accredited to produce ARVs by the World Health Organization or the National Drugs Authority.
James Kakooza, the State Minister for Primary Health, confessed that he was ignorant about the high price of drugs at Quality Chemicals. He said he could not discuss the matter further without evidence of this.
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Last year parliament approved the disbursement of 60 billion shillings to buy drugs from Quality Chemicals. So far only 38 billion shillings has been released by the treasury.