The European Journal of Development Research

, Volume 22, Issue 4, pp 451–468 | Cite as

Indian Generics Producers, Access to Essential Medicines and Local Production in Africa: An Argument with Reference to Tanzania

  • Sudip Chaudhuri
  • Maureen Mackintosh
  • Phares G M Mujinja
Original Article


Much analysis of the supply chain for essential medicines to Africa assumes broad sustainability of low-cost generics supply from Indian manufacturers. We use Indian data and interviews to question this assumption. In a case study of Tanzania, we then argue for the necessity and feasibility of enhanced local production of essential medicines. We identify key industrial policy interventions, including industrial protection and active government purchasing; public goods including legislative and regulatory frameworks and training; and encouragement and facilitation of joint ventures. We show that a basis has been laid for these activities, and identify the urgency and difficulty of the policy challenge. There are lessons for the Tanzanian case from Indian industrial history, and policy space is provided by Tanzania's Least Developed Country status. Industrial and health policy can be further integrated to the benefit of Tanzania's citizens. The Tanzanian case has broader implications for African policymakers.


local pharmaceutical production access to medicines Indian pharmaceutical exports industrial policy Tanzania 


Des nombreuses études sur la chaîne d′approvisionnement de médicaments essentiels destinés à l′Afrique font l′hypothèse de la stabilité de l′approvisionnement en médicaments génériques par les producteurs indiens. À partir d′une base de données indienne et d′entretiens, nous testons cette hypothèse. Dans une étude de cas concernant la Tanzanie, nous soulignons la nécessité et la faisabilité d′un renforcement de la production locale de médicaments essentiels. Nous identifions des mesures clés de politique industrielle, telles que une politique active d'achat par le gouvernement la mise en place de systèmes de protection industrielle, de biens publics – notamment des dispositifs législatifs, réglementaires et de formation – et des mesures d′incitation pour favoriser le développement de co-entreprises. Nous montrons que les fondations pour ces activités sont déjà en place, et soulignons l′urgence et la difficulté de ce défi politique. Pour le cas tanzanien, des enseignements peuvent être tirés de l′histoire industrielle indienne, et le statut de PMA (pays les moins avancés) de la Tanzanie lui procure certaines marges de manœuvre. Les politiques industrielles et de santé peuvent être davantage intégrées au bénéfice des citoyens tanzaniens. Le cas de la Tanzanie a des implications importantes pour les responsables politiques d’autres pays africains.



Funding from the UK Economic and Social Research Council, as part of its research programme in Non-governmental Public Action, grant number RES-155-25-0046, is gratefully acknowledged. We thank all our interviewees, including Tanzanian manufacturers, importers/distributors, wholesalers and retailers, the Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority, Tanzanian government officials and Indian exporting companies. Comments from Meri Koivusalo, Christoph Spennemann (UNCTAD), Tenu Avafia (UNDP), Harvinder S. Alag (Zenufa Laboratories), H.O. Mgonja (Government of Tanzania) and three anonymous referees on earlier versions of this article are gratefully acknowledged, as is Meri Koivusalo's research collaboration. The article has also benefitted from discussions with Samuel Wangwe and expert advice from Elizabeth Shekalaghe. The content of this article is the sole responsibility of the authors.


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Copyright information

© European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sudip Chaudhuri
    • 1
  • Maureen Mackintosh
    • 2
  • Phares G M Mujinja
    • 3
  1. 1.Indian Institute of Management CalcuttaKolkata
  2. 2.The Open UniversityMilton Keynes
  3. 3.Muhimbili University of Health and Allied SciencesDar es Salaam

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