Africa bears 75% of the world’s HIV/AIDS burden and 90% of malaria deaths. Even patients who receive medicine often face treatment challenges, since many pharmaceuticals on the market are substandard, falsified, or of poor quality. Given the burden of disease across the continent, there is significant need to increase access to quality and affordable medicine.
China has one of the world’s fastest-growing pharmaceutical industries, with longstanding health partnerships in Africa. In 2016, Global Health Strategies partnered with the Institute for Global Health at Peking University and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to explore potential for collaboration between China’s Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) and regulatory agencies in Africa in order to increase the availability of quality pharmaceuticals.
Leveraging its global network, GHS interviewed leading experts and stakeholders to understand the pharmaceutical regulatory landscape in China and several key programs in Africa. Drawing on these conversations, GHS developed a policy paper to evaluate the regulatory space in Africa, assess China’s pharmaceutical regulatory strengths, and suggest potential areas of collaboration between China and government agencies in Africa. In addition, GHS worked with local partners to arrange CFDA field visits to two local pharmaceutical manufacturers in Nairobi, Kenya.
The field visits and policy paper successfully made the business case for CFDA investments in collaborations around improving access to quality medicines in Africa. Based on the findings put forth in the policy paper, GHS is now engaged in a follow-up project with the Gates Foundation and CFDA as they begin to move forward with some of the key steps to promote collaboration in this area.