Cipla Quality Chemical has dispatched its first antimalarial exports to Rwanda, initiating the first of more orders not only to Rwanda but to other countries.
The drugs, which were exported under the Presidential Malaria Initiative arrived in Rwanda a few days ago, according to Mr Nevin Bradford, the Cipla chief executive officer, who also noted they were working on delivering other orders within Uganda, Sierra Leone and Myanmar in south east Asia.
Speaking in a phone interview at the weekend Mr Bradford told Daily Monitor the consignment, which contained about 250,000 malarial treatments, had been delivered on time and in full.
He was, however, not certain of the quantity that the company will be required to deliver for the whole contract order.
“This is the first of quite a few orders not just for Rwanda but other countries. It could be several millions of dollars but we are not sure of the exact content [and amount at the moment],” Mr Bradford said, adding that more orders will be delivered to Rwanda in a few months.
Cipla, one of the biggest drug manufacturers in Africa, was awarded the Presidential Malaria Initiative contract about four months ago to supply medicine under the auspice of Usaid.
The contract, which expires in two years, requires Cipla to manufacture and supply malarial treatment drugs among them artemether to selected countries.
Mr Bradford told Daily Monitor it was the first time the company had been contracted to supply malaria medicine beyond Uganda under the funding of Usaid.
“It means we will be able to sell to more markets than we would have otherwise,” Mr Bradford said.
Cipla, which listed on the stock exchange last year, has been seeking ways through which it can improve its sales to recover from a drop in drug sales.
Last week the company issued a profit warning, informing shareholders and Ugandans who wish to trade in its shares that it had recorded a loss between April and September.
The loss, Cipla said, was occasioned by dwindling drugs sales in the period thus eating into its profit margins.
This is the second time the drugs manufacturer is issuing a profit warning, which has made it a fragile stock since listing on the Uganda Securities Exchange in September last year.
Early this year, Cipla announced an 85 per cent drop in profits for the year ended March, dropping from Shs44.6b in the same period last year to Shs6.8b.
The company had earlier issued a profit warning. Shareholders have not earned dividends since Cipla listed on the USE.
The company has also seen its stock dip below the initial public offering from Shs265 to Shs128.
However, Cipla continues to be optimistic banking on new orders under the President’s Malaria Initiative to supply antimalarial to selected African countries.
The President’s Malaria Initiative
The President’s Malaria Initiative was launched in 2005 with the goal of reducing malaria-related mortality by 50 per cent across 15 high-burden countries in sub-Saharan Africa through a rapid scale-up of four proven and highly effective malaria prevention and treatment measures including accurate diagnosis and prompt treatment with artemisinin-based combination therapies. The Initiative also announced plans for a five-country expansion into Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Niger and Sierra Leone, which grew its reach to 24 malaria-endemic countries in sub-Saharan Africa, including those with the highest burden, and three programmes in the Greater Mekong sub-region of southeast Asia. Cipla anticipates to supply antimalarial drugs to most of these countries in the next five years.