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Economy

Regional supplier in partnership to cut cost of drugs

NCDs targeted under the partnership are breast cancer, asthma, hypertension and diabetes. PHOTO | FILE
NCDs targeted under the partnership are breast cancer, asthma, hypertension and diabetes. PHOTO | FILE 

Regional drugs supplier Mission for Essential Drugs & Supplies (MEDS) has signed a deal with international pharmaceutical companies to cut the cost of medicines, easing the burden for households.

MEDS has partnered with Novartis, Astra Zeneca, GlaxoSmithkline, Novo Nordisk and Johnson & Johnson to avail medicine, including cancer drugs, at cheaper costs.
Under the arrangement, the companies will also provide branded products at reduced prices. 

“The aim is to lift the burden of expensive branded medicines off the backs of patients for both communicable and non-communicable diseases,” MEDS chairman, Dr Robert Lang’at said during the annual MEDS Day held at its offices in Nairobi Friday.

The non-communicable diseases targeted under the partnership are breast cancer, asthma, hypertension and diabetes, which are some of the most expensive conditions to manage.

Dr Lang’at said the partnership with Novo Nordisk, for instance, has helped to lower the price of insulin by more than 70 per cent, from a high of Sh2,000 to Sh500 for about 25,000 patients in Kenya. 

“This has been backed by the Sh12 million coldroom for insulin launched recently, which was co-financed by MEDS and Novo,” he said.

Dr Lang’at said MEDS is also working with the national and county governments to ensure that the quality and affordable medicines and medical supplies benefit the most deserving cases.

He said MEDS has stepped up the fight against counterfeits and substandard drugs, noting that they are a threat to genuine drug manufacturers and the health of the entire nation. 

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