Dr Paul A. Lartey, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of La Gray, has stated that the pharmaceutical industry in Ghana was capable of producing adequate anti-retroviral drugs for persons living with HIV and AIDS.
He said in the whole of West Africa six pharmaceutical companies including La Gray and Danadams from Ghana were capable of producing the anti-retroviral drugs locally and that so far Danadams had begun supplying to government health institutions.
Dr Lartey said this in an interview with the GNA on the sideline of the launch of Quality Assured Essential Medicines for Ghana Project in Accra.
He said the two companies in Ghana had the capacity to produce quite a big proportion of the anti-retroviral drugs locally.
“La Gray is a state of the art company that meets international standards of good manufacturing practices and we have the capacity and the ability to serve Ghana and beyond,” Dr Lartey said.
He said fake drug importation jeopardized the health of the people and urged countries in the sub-region to enact laws with punitive measures against importers and dealers in fake drugs.
Dr Lartey said 30 per cent of the drug needs of the sub-region were manufactured locally, were free from any counterfeiting and that counterfeit drugs were usually imported into the sub-region.
He said in line with the good manufacturing practice of the Food and Drugs Authority, all local drug manufacturing companies in the country were to abide by international manufacturing standards by 2018.
Dr Lartey said the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plan for Africa which was launched in Ghana, aims at raising the standard of pharmaceutical manufacturing to international quality standards.
He said the Centre for Pharmacy Advancement and Training from the United States Pharmacopia had established quality laboratory and training programmes in Ghana for the detection of counterfeit drugs and the training of health professionals.
He said fake drugs eroded public confidence in healthcare system, making patients susceptible to exploitation to fake traditional medicines, healers and fraudulent prayer camps.
Delivering a public lecture at the 26th Annual General Meeting, Scientific Symposium and 56th Council Meeting of the West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacists, Dr Lartey said the impact of fake drug trafficking include premature mortality which had the same impact as trafficking in small arms and ammunition and undermines rule of law and ends up putting money in the hands of criminals.
The meeting was on the theme: “The Impact of Fake and Substandard Drugs on Quality of Life in West Africa”.
He said fake trafficking deepened corruption and gave leverage to criminals, corrupt public officials, adding that its negative impact on economic stability contributed to morbidity, reduced productivity and violates human rights.
Dr Lartey said fake medicines in West Africa originated from Southeast and East Asia, declaring that the annual estimated value of fake anti malarial was $438 million.
He said West Africa offered ideal conditions for fake drug trafficking because it was one of the poorest regions in the world with weak or non-existent laws against trafficking in medicines and low regulatory and enforcement capacity.
Dr Lartey urged member states of the sub-region to develop policy for sourcing critical medicine needs with local preference and to reduce dependence on imported medicines.
He said under the new ECOWAS model law, the offence of dealing in fake drugs covered counterfeit or unwholesome medical products , manufacturing or production , causing to be manufactured/produced, importation or transportation, marketing or distribution, sale or possession and conspiracy to do any of the above.
Dr Lartey said liability for the offence was fine $500,000 minimum or equivalent and imprisonment of 10 years to life.
He urged countries in the sub-region to adopt the ECOWAS model law into their national laws.