The Sunday News
Tichafara Bepe, Sunday News Reporter
CAPS Pharmaceuticals’ plan to re-open two plants by end of the year is on course and this is expected to improve medical supplies in the country, the company said.
CAPS Pharmaceuticals chief executive officer Mr Justice Majaka said despite foreign currency challenges the firm was set to complete the project within the set timelines.
“We have completed the refurbishment of the penicillin plant. We now expect the regulatory authorities to inspect the plant before the end of June 2019. We still expect both plants to be operational by the end of 2019. CAPS have not engaged any partners for the two projects. They are being capitalised through internally generated funds.”
Mr Majaka told Sunday Business that unavailability of foreign currency to import spares and ingredients has been the biggest challenge facing the company in refurbishing and setting up the two plants. The first Beta-Lactam antibiotics plant will produce penicillins and cephalosporins while the other plant will manufacture large volume parenteral (LVPs), commonly known as drips or intravenous fluids.
“These products shall be for both the local and export markets. Our intention is to expand the portfolio of our exports which will generate foreign currency to support the importation of raw materials”, Mr Majaka added.
It is expected that the two plants will boost the pharmaceutical manufacturer’s capacity by an additional 30 percent from the current 40 percent. The country imports 80 percent of drugs it uses annually which amount to a US$400 million import bill despite the pharmaceutical industry’s capacity and knowledge on the production of 75 percent of the consumed drugs, the Pharmaceutical Society of Zimbabwe data shows. The retooling of the sector is expected to help cut the import bill while stimulating local industry. US$40 million was needed for retooling the sector as of last year.