Shake up for Kenya’s pharma industry as Square pharmaceuticals unveils new plant

KENYA – Square Pharmaceuticals Kenya EPZ Limited, an investment of Bangladesh-based company, Square Pharmaceuticals Limited, is set to open its first manufacturing plant at EPZ in Kenya.

The plant which is the first phase of a total US$ 75 million investment by the Bangladeshi company is aligned to the WHO global cost-reduction strategy aimed at the promotion of technology transfer between developed and developing countries, bringing down the price of drugs and increasing public access to quality and affordable medicines in the region.

Speaking during a familiarization tour at the plant, Betty Maina, Cabinet Secretary Industrialization, Trade, and Enterprise Development stated that the Kenyan government was keen to support the establishment, growth, and development of the Pharma manufacturing sector so as to improve the lives and well-being being of Kenyans, create jobs and strengthen local value chains.

The plant is key to the realization of the manufacturing and universal health pillars of Kenya’s Big Four Agenda. The multi-million-dollar project is the first investment that the Bangladesh Government approved to be located in Africa.

The plant occupies 6.03 hectares of land and has a production capacity of over 2 Billion capsules and tablets annually.

We are grateful for the support we have received from the Government of Kenya, particularly, creating a policy and business environment where pharmaceutical companies can thrive. We believe that local pharmaceutical production has a potential to drastically reduce the cost of drugs by 40 percent and bring about greater access to essential medicines while at the same time promoting the agenda of universal health care,” added Mr. Tapan Chowdhury, The Managing Director of Square Pharmaceuticals Limited.

The local drug maker broke ground on its manufacturing plant in Nairobi back in 2018 and although the unit was initially set to begin production in 2020, the project was delayed by unavoidable circumstances.

With the state-of-the-art machinery, Square Pharmaceuticals Kenya EPZ Ltd aims to fulfil the unmet demand for medicine in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and South Sudan.

This is a first for the country that, with permission from Bangladesh Bank, a local company is establishing a drug production facility abroad.

“This is a big step for Bangladesh,” Tapan Chowdhury, managing director of Square Pharmaceuticals, said.

The principal activity of the company is to manufacture and sell generic pharmaceutical products in Kenya and a majority of the East African community.

Square Pharmaceuticals has obtained clearance from the Pharmacy and Poisons Board, Kenya for setting up the plant on the banks of the Athi River.

Square Pharmaceuticals has 859 products. Of them, 637 are pharmaceuticals, 134 are agrovets and 36 are pesticides and so on. Since 1985, Square Pharmaceuticals has held the top spot in Bangladesh’s pharmaceuticals sector.

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