A new pharmaceutical plant to produce life-prolonging anti-retroviral drugs(ARVs) has been installed in Arusha and set to start operations soon. Ramadhan Madabida,CEO of the Tanzania pharmaceutical industries limited(TPI) revealed this yesterday when addressing journalists here attending a training seminar on reporting on regional intergration. According to the CEO,the plant has been installed at the cost of euros 6 million,which is equivalent to over 13bn/- to which EU contributed euros 5 million and TPI proprietors parted with euro 1 million.The plant is set to employ more than 140 people upon starting operations. Madabida said mass production of the drugs is expected to start next month and its official launch will be on December 01,this year during the world Aids Day. The plant has been established under the trade related aspects of intellectual property rights(TRIPS) agreement,which allows least developed countries(LDCs) like Tanzania to produce essential drugs without introducing pharmaceutical product patents until 2016. "our target is ensure that Tanzania and East African countries are self sufficient in the supply of the ARVs and other essential drugs in the region"he said,adding that Tanzania will be the first market before extending to the rests of the EAC market. Source;the guardian tuesday august 16.