Action plan to boost African countries’ progress in pharmaceutical innovation

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A group of experts from across Africa developed an action plan for boosting pharmaceutical innovation on the continent, with an emphasis on putting countries in the drivers’ seat for their medicines development, access and local production.

The meeting addressed the problems and challenges faced by African countries in their quest to improve access to medicines, do research for improved products, and stimulate local production of medicines.

The experts suggested steps to support country innovation strategies. They include the creation of mechanisms for improving regional scientific cooperation and the sharing of information across countries – for example projects and best practices. A new ‘tool’ for designing national pharmaceutical action plans was improved by the group, who agreed that it is useful for countries across the continent. The experts included senior country policy makers (health and science and technology), researchers, pharmaceutical industry representations, civil society organizations and development partners.

These decisions have significant implications for the future of pharmaceutical innovation and access to medicines on the continent. Africa has a robust set of intergovernmental agreements, Declarations, and national policies in many countries today. But to date these policies have not been effectively put into action.

The meeting has started a movement for countries to move forward with practical plans for medicines access and pharmaceutical innovation.

The discussions support the implementation of the Global Strategy and Plan of Action on Innovation, Public Health and Intellectual Property, the Africa Health Strategy, the African Union Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plan.

The Pharmaceutical innovation tool and the substance of discussions in the meeting were informed by the new study, Strengthening Pharmaceutical Innovation in Africa, launched by the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), Council on Health Research for Development (COHRED) and the African Union (AU) last week.

Source: NEPAD

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