Kenya Pharmaceutical Industry

  • Kenya's prescription pharmaceuticals market is worth over USD 500 million and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.8% till 2020.
  • Kenya is currently the largest producer of pharmaceutical products in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) region, supplying about 50% of the regions' market.
  • The pharmaceutical industry in Kenya is growing at a rapid pace and offers excellent opportunities for exporters and manufacturers to establish their products and services in the lucrative market for pharmaceuticals in East Africa.
  • The pharmaceutical sector consists of more than 35 licensed units include local manufacturing companies and large Multi National Corporations (MNCs), subsidiaries or joint ventures. Most are located within Nairobi and its environs. These firms collectively employ over 2,000 people, about 65% of who work in direct production.
  • The industry compounds and packages medicines, repacking formulated drugs and processing bulk drugs into doses using predominantly imported active ingredients and excipients. The bulk of locally manufactured preparations are non-sterile, over-the-counter (OTC) products.
  • The number of companies engaged in manufacturing and distribution of pharmaceutical products in Kenya continue to expand, driven by the Government's efforts to promote local and foreign investment in the sector.
  • Kenya enjoys preferential access to the regional market under a number of special access and duty reduction programs related to the East African Community (EAC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) among others.
  • The number of companies engaged in manufacturing and distribution of pharmaceutical products in Kenya continue to expand, driven by the Government's efforts to promote local and foreign investment in the sector.
  • The country exports its medicinal and pharmaceutical products to Tanzania, Uganda, DRC, Rwanda, Burundi, the Comoros, Ethiopia and Malawi among other destinations.
  • The pharmaceutical sector in Kenya is also engaged in assembling capsules, disposable syringes, paracetamol, and surgical gauze amongst others.
  • Kenya spends about 8% of its GDP on health. The Kenya Medical Suppliers Agency (KEMSA), a division of the Ministry of Health, largely carries out the distribution of pharmaceutical products in Kenya. It distributes drugs to government public health facilities and private health facilities.
  • The health sector in Kenya is one of the sectors that has experienced remarkable development in the recent years.