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GSK upgrading Kenya factory

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 1 – Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has said it is in the process of upgrading its multi-million shilling factory in Kenya.

GSK Managing Director John Musunga told Capital Business in an interview on Monday that the refurbishment would cost Sh220 million.

“The factory predominantly manufactures our consumer health care products like panadol, hedex, lucozade and many others. It is present and manufactures here (Kenya),” Mr Musunga said.

“The work of upgrading started last year and we expect to complete the activities by end of this year or early next year.  So hopefully we will have a state-of -the art-factory continuing to manufacture and serve Kenyans,” he added.

Mr Musunga assured consumers that the upscaling would not affect drug prices in any way.

He said the company would continue to manufacture medicines of high quality and at affordable prices.

“Safety in medicines comes with a good manufacturing system and process so GSK adheres to what we call good manufacturing practices which are procedures and processes in place that ensure that you do certain things in a particular way and you document what you are doing,” the GSK boss said.

He said this ensured that the products could be easily traced back to the patient level if there was any mistake.

At the same time the pharmaceutical giant pledged to continue developing vaccines especially for the high killer diseases.

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GSK East Africa Vaccines Director Patrick Abele however said there was need for awareness creation when these vaccines are developed so that people can know of the prevention measures.

“Vaccines initially are introduced in the private market and then there is awareness created for the doctors. The government and other partners come on board and then they create a funding mechanism which allows the vaccine to be available to the general public,” Mr Abele said.

He said many of the vaccines that were available like the latest HPV which prevents cervical cancer, Hepatitis B vaccine which is for liver cancer and pneumacoco for pneumonia were yet to be available in the public sector.

He says plans were underway to make some of these vaccines available in the public sector.

“There are plans at an advanced level to introduce the pneumococo vaccine especially into the Expanded Programme of Immunisation (EPI),” he said.

“The process is normally more detailed because it involves fundraising sometimes at a global level. There is also what we call World Health Organisation prequalifications so all these elements play a big role in ultimately delivering the vaccine.”

Mr Abele said there were also plans to make the HPV vaccine for cervical cancer which has become a major killer disease in women available in the public sector.

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