Spotlight on Pharmaceutical Pricing Regulation in Kenya: How Much does it Really Contribute to Access?

"Ensuring access to essential medicines by low income consumers is a challenge to many countries. Pharmaceutical expenditure is rising in Kenya, as is the health expenditure. However, our research found that on average, public sector facilities interviewed had only 50% availability of essential medicines. The Government does not impose any tariffs (duty and VAT) on finished pharmaceutical products, whether locally manufactured or imported. Public sector procurement of pharmaceutical products, which is governed by the Public Procurement and Disposal Act (2005), is based on the principle of lowest bidding price. Arguably, this targets value for money aimed at ensuring accessibility of pharmaceuticals in public health facilities for low income earners. Nevertheless, challenges in availability of pharmaceuticals in public health facilities mean that the common mwananchi is highly dependent on pharmaceuticals from the private sector. This brief considers the main regulatory frameworks and the scope for achieving better access to medicines."