Ethiopia Calls Chinese to Increase Investment in Health, Pharmaceutical Sector

Ethiopian Embassy in Beijing, in collaboration with Beijing Beimao Jingyuan Health consulting Inc., organized a forum promoting trade and investment in the Medical, Health, and Pharmaceutical sector.

More than 40 companies in the sector, representatives from the Ethiopian Ministry of Health, Ethiopian Investment Commission, and partner institutions were in attendance in the virtually and physically held forum.

In his opening remarks, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ethiopia to the Republic of China, Teshome Toga, noted the importance of the health investment forum at this critical time.

Despite the effects of Covid-19 on the global economy, “FDI in Ethiopia in the past nine months registered growth by 18.33 % in 2022 compared to the same period last year,” he said adding that the growth showed increment from 2.05 billion USD in 2021 to 2.43 billion USD in 2022.

The fact that 2/3 of all the Chinese firms in Ethiopia are engaged in the manufacturing sector is a testimony of the enduring confidence of investors in the Ethiopian market and potential, he underlined.

Assuring the priority given by the government to the sector, Ambassador Teshome affirmed that “the health and medical sector in Ethiopia is the priority of the government of Ethiopia as laid out in its 10-year development plan that aims to increase its local production capacity.”

The Director-General of the Middle East, Asia, and Pacific Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, H.E Ambassador Gebeyehu Ganga (Ph.D.), on his part, briefed the strategic China-Ethiopia ties and the bilateral trade and investment between the two countries.

Infrastructure development, investment, and bilateral trade cooperation have been growing since the two countries started diplomatic relationships 50 years ago, he said.

Mentioning the vast potential in the Medical, Health, and Pharmaceutical sector, he indicated local production only covers 5% of the demand from the sector, which gives investors a wide opportunity to engage in the sector.

Ambassador Gebeyehu reiterated the enabling environment created in Ethiopia for foreign investors and re-assured the government’s commitment to helping the Chinese Investors, given the strategic partnership and cooperation between Ethiopia and China.

The CEO of Beijing Beimao Jingyuan Health Consulting Inc., Mrs. Shi Lili, remarked that Ethiopia as a member of the African Union and the seat of its headquarters provides a huge potential for partnership, including in the health and medical services.

Mentioning the long-standing friendship and the increasing volume of trade between the two countries, she noted that China has become Ethiopia’s largest trade partner.

She also recalled the joint trade and investment cooperation agreements signed between the two countries, including the Belt and Road initiative, as an opportunity to expand trade and investment ties.

The forum also included presentations from the Ethiopian Ministry of Health, the Ethiopian food and drug Authority, Chinese Medical companies, and the Ethiopian Investment Commission, among others.

Kenyan medical firm receives Sh339 million boost

Kenyan firm joins global manufacturers of syringes and key medical supplies

• Asia Africa Investment and Consulting Pte Ltd (AAIC) and Ohara Pharmaceutical Company Ltd have jointly invested USD3 million into Revital Healthcare.

•The Kilifi-based manufacturer is one of 25 auto-disable syringe manufacturers pre-qualified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the only one in Africa.

Kilifi-based medical supply manufacturer, Revital Healthcare EPZ Ltd, has received a further injection of capital from two Japanese firms that will boost its production capacity.

Asia Africa Investment and Consulting Pte Ltd (AAIC) and Ohara Pharmaceutical Company Ltd have jointly invested USD3 million (approximately Sh339 million) into Revital Healthcare.

This will see means the Kilifi-based manufacturer, one of 25 auto-disable syringe manufacturers pre-qualified by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the only one in Africa enhance its production capacity from 75 million syringes to more than 400 million annually.

This follows another investment of Sh440 million into the firm from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which the firm’s sales, marketing and product development director Roneek Vora said will boost production to at least 300 million syringes a year from 2022.

Revital estimates that the support will lead to the creation of over 100 direct new jobs and over 5,000 indirect jobs out of which Revital has committed to ensuring that at least 50 per cent of new hires are women.

Global demand for auto-disable syringes has grown greatly as the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines progresses globally. Recent estimates from PATH, a global non-profit organisation improving public health, projecst that there will be a shortage of over 2.2 billion units of the 0.5ml vaccine syringes in 2022.

This will acutely impact the Covid-19 vaccination drive, child immunisation along with inoculation of the new malaria vaccines, in low and middle-income countries, especially across Africa.

Currently, Revital manufactures 45 essential medical disposables ranging from syringes, Rapid Diagnostic Test Kits for Covid and Malaria, PPE kits, surgical face mask and viral transport medium kits. The investment comes at a time when the Omicron variant of Covid-19 is fast spreading across the globe, prompting countries to re-introduce drastic measures like lockdowns to try and contain infection.

“Expanding manufacturing capacity in Africa for critical supplies such as syringes is essential to ensure adequate supply for the continent,” said Vora in a statement. He said the firm is proud to be part of the global efforts to ensure Africans have access to life-saving vaccination syringes.

Revital Healthcare chairman Rajni Vora said with the investment from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, AAIC and Ohara Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer intends to expand into the diagnostics line, laboratory consumables and other more essential medical supplies.

Agreement Signed for Construction of Neuropsychiatric Centre in Karen/Ngong

President Uhuru Kenyatta met with executives from San Raffaele Research Hospital, a renowned private hospital in Italy managed by group chairman Kamel Ghribi, to sign an agreement for the construction of a National Teaching and Referral Neuropsychiatric Centre in Karen/Ngong.

The 600-bed hospital will be developed on an 80-hectare plot of land purposely to handle the East African country’s rising mental disease burden. The country also inked an MOU with an Italian business for consulting services and the building and implementation of the mental health institution.

Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua, Health CS Mutahi Kagwe, and Amref Health Africa executives attended the conference.

Expectations for the National Teaching and Referral Neuropsychiatric Centre in Karen/Ngong

In addition to providing therapy, the institution will include a speciality university that will teach mental health practitioners. Uhuru has admitted that mental health is an increasing burden in the country and region, necessitating the establishment of a speciality hospital to handle the growing number of patients. The initiative is public-private cooperation with local and international participants.

The National Teaching and Referral Neuropsychiatric Centre in Karen/Ngong is intended to provide better services and more space and relieve strain on Mathari Hospital. Mathari, which is located along the Thika Superhighway, will be improved for further medical needs. The collaboration will prepare psychiatrists and psychologists for the new hospital as well as the rest of the country. The deal aims to improve the local health system, ensuring quality services for all Kenyans and propelling the country into a regional centre of choice for various diagnostics and sophisticated treatment.

In recent years, the country has seen exponential growth in the incidence of mental diseases, with estimates suggesting that around 20 to 25% of outpatients seeking primary care have signs of mental illness. A mental health task committee established in December 2019 suggested a slew of measures, including declaring mental health a national emergency. It also suggested the formation of a mental health and happiness commission to advise, coordinate, and regularly monitor the country’s mental health situation.

Marksans Pharma acquires Dubai-based Access Healthcare for Rs 27 cr.

Marksans Pharma signed a share purchase agreement to acquire a 100% stake in Access Healthcare for Medical Products L.L.C, a Dubai-based front-marketing and promotion company for a cash consideration of AED 13 million.

This transaction was approved by the board of Marksans Pharma on 23 April 2022. The acquisition is expected to be completed by 30 June 2022. Access Healthcare for Medical Products (Access Healthcare) provides pharmaceutical companies innovative marketing and sales solutions in the MENA (Middle East & North Africa) region. The company supplies these products in the UAE and other neighboring countries.

In the UAE market, Marksans Pharma supplied products through the Dubai Health Authority (DHA). It has market authorizations by the UAE regulatory authorities for various products. For the year ended December 2021, Access Healthcare for Medical Products registered a revenue of AED 12 million (Rs 25 crore) and a profit after tax ofAED 4.5 million (Rs 9.40 crore). The company has no debt on its books.

As per the company’s press release, this deal will enable the company to use the front-end sales and marketing infrastructure of Access Healthcare for marketing its products manufactured in the India, UK, and USA regions. It will bolster Marksans Pharma’s presence in the Middle East and North African regions by leveraging Access Health’s knowledge of local business cultures and access to a network of partners and distributors in those regions.

The shareholders of Access Healthcare will receive a cash consideration of AED 13 million (Rs 27.10 crore) on closure of the transaction, which is subject to regulatory approvals. The transaction will be funded from internal accruals, as per the company’s exchange filing.

On a consolidated basis, the company reported a 18.1% fall in net profit to Rs 48.27 crore on a 1.2% rise in net sales to Rs 362.63 crore in Q3 FY22 over Q3 FY21.

Shares of Marksans Pharma shed 1.97% to Rs 54.70 on BSE. Marksans Pharma is an Indian pharmaceutical company having a global footprint. The company’s strengths lie in research, manufacturing and marketing of finished dosage pharmaceutical formulations.

Ethiopia: Potential to capitalise on demand for affordable pharmaceuticals

According to a research, there are opportunities to produce specific pharmaceutical items in Ethiopia, a market that is now dominated by imports.

By 2025, Ethiopia’s domestic pharmaceutical business may be valued more than $1 billion. A increasing middle-income base and urbanisation at a rate of 5.4 percent per year are predicted to fuel growth, resulting in improved access to healthcare as cities improve their infrastructure and healthcare facilities.

Imports contribute for 65 percent to 75 percent of the Ethiopian pharmaceutical market, with India (22 percent), the Netherlands (20 percent), and Belgium accounting for the majority of the rest (13 percent ). Finished pharmaceutical items account for the majority of imports, accounting for over 80% of all pharmaceutical products imported in 2019. The following are some of the most important products imported into Ethiopia:

60% – anti-infectives
9% – central nervous system medicines
8% – water and acid base electrolytes
5% – endocrine disorder and contraceptives

The Ethiopian Pharmaceutical Supply Agency (EPSA) is the country’s single most influential buyer, accounting for 60% of overall pharma spending. Antivirals and antibacterials are common purchases in the public and social sectors.

There are just 11 manufacturers in the country, 45 percent of which are jointly held by international and local investors. With two joint ventures and one fully-owned enterprise, China is becoming a major player in Ethiopia’s pharmaceutical industry.

Ethiopia’s government has taken a number of steps to enhance the sector. It has devised a 10-year pharmaceutical production strategy and action plan. Kilinto Park is Africa’s first dedicated industrial park, spanning 279 hectares and dedicated to pharmaceutical manufacture on 136 hectares. The park is 15 kilometres from the city centre of Addis Ababa, 863 kilometres from the port of Djibouti, and a 10-minute drive from Bole International Airport. Investors are given serviced or ready-to-use land with shared infrastructure and services, allowing them to get started quickly.

Henlius Partners with Getz to commercialize Adalimumab Biosimilar

Shanghai Henlius Biotech has established a partnership with Getz Pharma Limited to commercialise Handayuan (HLX03), an adalimumab biosimilar, in numerous Asian and African countries.

Getz Pharma will be able to market the product in Pakistan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Nigeria, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan, as well as any other territories mutually agreed upon, under the terms of the licencing and supply agreement.

Henlius’ first monoclonal antibody for autoimmune therapy, HLX03, was self-developed. The biosimilar is based on Humira, which had sales of $20.7 billion in 2021, making it the highest-grossing medication in the world that wasn’t a COVID-19 vaccination. Humira has been approved for more than ten indications around the world, and it is a recommended medicine in North American and European autoimmune disease management recommendations.

The National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) of China has approved HLX03 for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, uveitis, and plaque psoriasis. Jiangsu Wanbang is in charge of HLX03’s marketing in China.

“In the future, Henlius will actively collaborate with more global industry leaders, maximising the value of biosimilars and accelerating diversified innovation to develop more products based on clinical and market needs to deliver more affordable products to patients worldwide,” Henius said in a statement.

Over 100 million euros will be invested by the EU and the Gates Foundation to establish an African drug regulator

According to Reuters, the European Union and the Gates Foundation are due to announce financial assistance for fledgling plans to establish an African medicines regulator to enhance the continent’s drug and vaccine production.

The African Medicines Institution (AMA) treaty entered into force in November, although the agency is now only operational on paper. The treaty establishing the AMA has been ratified by just over half of the 55 African Union (AU) member nations so far.

The provision of financial and technical assistance to the new agency is considered as critical in assisting it in launching operations. This would help the continent’s vaccine and pharma industries, which relies on a reliable regulator to thrive.

A person familiar with the initiative told Reuters that the European Commission, Germany, France, Belgium, and the Gates Foundation will pay more than 100 million euros ($113.93 million) to support AMA and African national regulatory authorities.

The goal is for these organizations to reach Maturity Level 3 for vaccine manufacturing, which the World Health Organization (WHO) describes as “the minimum WHO standard for effective regulatory monitoring for quality local vaccine production,” according to the official.

According to an internal EU Commission paper with slides seen by Reuters, a portion of the funds will be distributed as grants, with the remainder going to the European Medicines Agency.

According to the statement, the EMA, which is now Africa’s only drug regulator, will “offer technical help to African counterparts via scientific collaboration, joint inspections, training, and notably the AMA.”

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, asked African countries to support efforts to establish the regulator, saying it may aid in the fight against counterfeit and low-quality medications.

“I believe this institution will be extremely essential for the continent,” says the author “In Cape Town, he stated. “I’d like to (appeal) to all non-ratifying countries to ratify and expedite the creation (of AMA).”

Soumya Swaminathan, the WHO’s chief scientist, said the AMA could play “the kind of role that the European Medicines Agency has played in Europe — defining standards, helping countries develop their regulatory bodies” at a previous occasion.


After the COVID-19 epidemic exposed the region’s reliance on imported vaccinations and other drugs, the race to establish the AMA has begun. Local production accounts for just over 5% of medications and 1% of vaccines consumed by the 1.2 billion-strong population.

Africa initially struggled to obtain COVID-19 vaccine shots due to limited supply being purchased by wealthy countries. Deliveries to Africa have since increased, yet only 10% of Africans are properly vaccinated.

Increased production is currently being pursued, however medicine approval requires the approval of a regulator.

Experts warn that preparing for future pandemics is simply one of the reasons why Africa needs a continental regulator.

Due to inconsistent legislation in 54 countries and a lack of transparency, several pharmaceutical companies have abandoned efforts to register their goods, resulting in limited access to vital medicines in many African countries.

Due to a lack of strict control, counterfeit pharmaceuticals have flooded African markets, resulting in unnecessary deaths and fueling scepticism of medicine.

According to EU officials in Brussels, the EU’s attempt to back the new regulator is part of a larger strategy to counter Chinese and Russian influence in Africa. In the last year, Brussels has provided hundreds of millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccination to Africa.

Vaccine access will also be a major topic at a Brussels conference of EU and African Union leaders.

Margaret Agama-Anyetei, a senior AU official leading efforts to establish the AMA, stated that obtaining more AU member states to sign and ratify the treaty is one of the most pressing tasks.

“There are a plethora of fake certificates, fake drugs, fake masks, and fake medicine across the continent,” she told Reuters by phone from Addis Ababa. “It’s really important that we have a continental agency that is complementary to all other national health institutions and invested in promoting the regulation of medical products across the continent,” she said.