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Africa pharma e-book is open access hit

8 June 2020

Making Medicines in Africa front cover of book

An e-book based on ‘most impactful’ Open University research into drug manufacture in Africa, has become one of publisher Palgrave Macmillan’s top five open access downloads of all time.

Making Medicines in Africa overturns widely-held views of the African pharmaceutical industry as either poor quality or non-existent, and points to how the industry can and should be developed for the benefit of African patients.

Freely available on the publisher’s website, the e-book had clocked up 69,000 downloads as of 4 June.

Contributors to the book include practitioners as well as researchers, and the majority are from Africa or the global South. 

The book originated from a study led by Professor Maureen Mackintosh of the Centre for Innovation, Knowledge and Development (IKD) into the supply chains of essential medicines to the Kenyan and Tanzanian health systems.

Local manufacture for improving access 

It concluded that with the right mix of industrial and health policies, local pharmaceutical manufacture was both financially viable and capable of improving medicine access in many Sub-Saharan African countries. 

The study was selected by UKCDR, the UK-government backed Collaborative on Development Research, as one of its top 20 ‘most impactful’ pieces of global development research in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework.

UKCDR stated that its findings ‘helped to change the global pharmaceutical policy landscape’.

The study has led to a further project now ongoing, looking at innovation for cancer care in Africa.

Making Medicines in Africa is edited by Professor Mackintosh with IKD associate members Dr Geoffrey Banda and Dr Paula Tibandebage and OU Visiting Fellow Dr Watu Wamae.

'Embedded in local experience'

Professor Mackintosh said she was pleased to learn that the e-book was being read and referred to in African networks.

“Given so many difficulties of access to research literature experienced by African policy makers and academics, the fact it is open access is especially important.”

Also important to the book’s success is the background of its contributors, she said.

“Because Making Medicines in Africa is predominantly edited and authored by people in and/or from Africa, Asia and Latin America, it is genuinely embedded in local experience and priorities.”


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