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WHO applauds Varichem Pharmaceuticals

Varichem Pharmaceuticals in Harare has become the third company in sub-Saharan Africa to achieve World Health Organisation (WHO) prequalification for a medicines product.

Additional products submitted by companies in Kenya and Tanzania, and Varichem in Zimbabwe, are currently being evaluated by PQP. WHO said this was a first for Zimbabwe. PQP regularly organises training and technical assistance relating to medicines quality, safety and efficacy in Africa. This most recent prequalification indicates that they are effective.

The vision for the WHO programme is to provide good quality medicines for everyone. The mission of the Prequalification Programme is to make quality priority medicines available for the benefit of those in need in close cooperation with national regulatory agencies and partner organisations. This is achieved through its evaluation and inspection activities, and by building national capacity for sustainable manufacturing and monitoring of quality medicines.

It among others comprehensively evaluate the quality, safety and efficacy of medicinal products, based on information submitted by the manufacturers, and inspection of the corresponding manufacturing and clinical sites.

Key output

The list of prequalified medicinal products used for HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and for reproductive health produced by the programme is used principally by United Nations agencies including UNAIDS and UNICEF to guide their procurement decisions. But, the list has become a vital tool for any agency or organisation involved in bulk purchasing of medicines, be this at country level, or at international level, as demonstrated by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Varichem was considered among other companies in Netherlands and India.

It is Varichems culture to pioneer new products into the market. We are the first African Pharmaceutical company to manufacture ARVs, said the company on its website. We are also in the process of getting our plant and products World Health Organisation (WHO) prequalified as we endeavour to consolidate our plant and product quality position in order to access the Global Funds market.

Varichem Pharmaceuticals is a wholly Zimbabwean, privately owned company established in 1985. Varichem manufactures and markets a wide range of quality generic pharmaceuticals and related products. Varichem was born in 1985 out of the awareness of the acute, sometimes critical, need for reliable cost effective health care products often seriously lacking in the delivery of medical care in Zimbabwe, a country which had been dominated by the heavy weight pharmaceutical multinationals. The entrance of Varichem into the health care business signaled a new era in the whole pharmaceutical market by changing the rules of the game.

Besides fulfilling local demand, it has established very good business relationships with regional buyers. Now we are exporting our generic pharmaceuticals to Malawi, Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland. From a humble export figure, our exports have increased many folds over the past five years and this indicates growing confidence of our regional customers on our products.

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