The Kenya Association of Pharmaceutical Industry (KAPI) has expressed its commitment to continue facilitating a progressive reduction in the cost of Non communicable diseases (NCDs) medicines locally.
In a swift response to a public call by President Uhuru Kenyatta to international pharmaceutical firms, to reduce the cost of NCD medicines, KAPI, has confirmed ongoing efforts to affordably deliver essential medicines in Kenya. The efforts, are rolling out under a stakeholder initiative dubbed: Access Accelerated.
Alongside the initiative, the Association, comprising of leading international and local pharmaceutical firms, is also collaborating with the Ministry of Health to address non-tariff barriers affecting the pricing of medicines in the local market.
KAPI Chairperson, Dr. Anastasia Nyalita said the Association’s members have been undertaking public awareness programmes geared at educating Kenyans to exercise healthy living and preventive strategies as the most cost-effective measures against disease; especially lifestyle NCDs.
Speaking from New York, when he addressed a plenary session on the prevention and control of NCDs at the ongoing 73rd session on United Nations General Assembly in New York, last Thursday, President Kenyatta said access to essential medicines and technologies is key for effective management of NCDs.
“I call on non-state actors including the pharmaceutical industries and private health service providers to partner with governments to bring down costs of treatment through fair pricing and ethical practices,” said President Kenyatta.
The President said Kenya aims to guarantee access to quality NCD care through an integrated primary health care approach that emphasizes preventive and promotive health intervention that encourages the adoption of healthy lifestyles.
Additionally, said the Head of State, the government has committed itself to investing in additional and sustainable domestic financing to halt and reverse the burden of NCDs.
“To this end, we are embracing strategic partnerships and harnessing innovations from the private sector and other non-state actors in the entire continuum of NCDs,” he said
According to KAPI Chairperson, Dr. Anastasia Nyalita, the Association is playing a leading role in the local rollout of the global Access Accelerated initiative. Access Accelerated is a first-of-its-kind, multi-stakeholder collaboration focused on improving NCD care.
“KAPI, is working closely with the Ministry of Health among other stakeholders to address causative factors to the local cost of essential medicine and other pharmaceutical products, Dr Nyalita said. She added that, “Channel inefficiencies and excessive markup charges which contribute immensely to the unsustainable cost of medicine are currently under review.”
Launched at last year’s World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland, Access Accelerated is an initiative spearheaded by twenty-two leading biopharmaceutical companies that have joined hands to advance the access to non-communicable (NCD) prevention and care agenda in low and lower-middle income countries including Kenya.
The ‘Access Accelerated’ programme, Nyalita said is already providing much needed impetus to facilitate sustainable NCD management.
Access Accelerated companies operating in Kenya include: Bayer, Bristol-Myers Eli Lilly and Company, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, MSD, Novartis, Pfizer, Roche and Sanofi, among others.
“At KAPI, we wish to confirm our member companies’ commitment to affordably deliver NCD medicines in Kenya as and we look forward to partnering with the government as we seek to foster a conducive environment to ensure that we reduce mortality incidents associated with NCD diseases,” Nyalita said and added: “The call by President Kenyatta will further provide a good platform to crystalize Access Accelerated goals which are squarely aligned to the Big Four Agenda on Universal Health Care.”
The goal of Access Accelerated, in partnership with the World Bank Group and the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), is to work towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target to reduce premature deaths from NCDs by one-third by 2030.
“Through the commitment and expertise of the Access Accelerated partners, we will work towards a shared vision where no person dies prematurely from a preventable, treatable disease,” said Ian Read, Chief Executive Officer of Pfizer and President of The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA), on behalf of the initiative last year, adding that: “If the current trend in NCDs in low- and lower-middle income countries is not reversed, there is a real possibility we will undermine the progress we have made in health around the world. To reach our goal, we need to catalyze new partnerships, learn quickly and advance the resources and knowledge that will enable countries to tackle NCDs.”
In New York, President Kenyatta called on the international community to consider putting in place an incentive fund to stimulate the development of national NCD and mental health interventions and policy coherence for low and middle-income countries.
He said under the Big-4 pillar , Universal Healthcare has prioritized early diagnosis, screening and treatment of chronic NCDs.
Kenya continues to make tremendous progress in implementing the 22 political commitments agreed upon seven years ago aimed at a 25 per cent reduction in premature mortality occasioned by NCDs in 2025.
The President said Kenya’s success in this regard has been achieved through the domestication of the previous political declaration that adapted the global action plan for the prevention and control of NCDs in the national development blue print.
Building on long-standing individual company investments in global health, Access Accelerated is addressing a variety of access barriers to NCD prevention, treatment and care. Efforts will be evaluated with the support of independent experts at Boston University to establish a framework for progress, measure effectiveness and deliver ongoing reporting.
With the World Bank Group, the initiative will identify solutions to address financing, regulatory and service delivery barriers at country level. Additionally, the World Bank Group is conducting pilots in primary care to improve NCD outcomes in several countries.