The government has honoured the US$26 million debt it was owing the state-owned National Pharmaceutical Company (Nat-Pharm), a development that is expected to boost drug supplies in hospitals across the country.

The debt was owed by the Ministry of Health and Child Care in costs incurred through the warehousing and distribution of drugs donated by various partners.

Nat-Pharm procures drugs in bulk for more than 1450 health institutions across the country. The debt had almost crippled the parastatal’s ability to perform its mandate.

Nat-Pharm Managing Director, Ms Flora Sifeku is optimistic that the settlement of the debt will help the parastatal get back on its feet.

The funding challenges at Nat-Pharm had left the local health sector in a precarious position as many pharmaceutical companies were also being owed millions of dollars by the parastatal.

Zimbabwe is rated the second largest drug manufacturing country in the region outside South Africa with nine licensed pharmaceutical companies.

However, the majority of the companies are operating below capacity and surviving through lines of credit.

The Ministry of Health and Child Care has been failing to service the debt, claiming that it is also not getting adequate fiscal support from treasury.