Boston, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 04/09/2014 -- Zimbabwe's pharmaceutical and healthcare sector continues to be affected by the scarcity of medical professionals, along with acute shortages of critical medicines and medical supplies. The lack of access to medical treatment has led to a large proportion of the population becoming more reliant on herbal and traditional medicine, which has seen a recent influx in the country. However, with the Zimbabwean authorities pushing for the regulation of herbal medicines, the current lack of competition within the pharmaceutical sector could provide opportunities for foreign drugmakers that are prepared to accept high risks.
Headline Expenditure Projections
- Pharmaceuticals: US$233mn in 2013 to US$256mn in 2014; +9.7% in US dollar terms. Forecast remains in line with last quarter's projections.
In BMI's RRR table for Q2 2014, Zimbabwe scored 29 out of 100, a slight improvement from last quarter (28). The country has also moved up one position from 29th to 28th in the 30 markets surveyed in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region. This is attributed to an improvement in its industry reward score. Zimbabwe will, however, remain one of the least-attractive pharmaceutical and healthcare markets regionally and globally, due to the elevated political, economic and social risks, as well as the lack of finances for adequate healthcare provision and capacity utilisation.
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Key Trends And Developments
The Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ) has called for the regulation of herbal medicine sector, which for a long time has operated without much regulation. New regulations for the sector have been submitted to the Ministry of Health and Child Care for approval. This comes in the wake of an influx of herbal medicines in the country, with some traders claiming that they treat more than 100 illnesses, including diabetes and liver dysfunction. The regulation of the herbal medicines sector was designed to ensure public safety with the Medicines and Allied Substances Control Act of 1997, according to MCAZ Director General Gugu Mahlangu.
Zimbabwe's Health and Child Care Ministry is seeking funds to recapitalise state-run National Pharmaceutical Company of Zimbabwe (NatPharm). The government should introduce new domestic funding mechanisms to cover up gaps instead of depending on donors for drugs, according to Minister for Health and Child Care Gerald Gwinji. Around 98% of Zimbabwe's drugs come from donors, which is described as a 'serious national security threat' by health officials.
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