Business News of Friday, 16 January 2015
Local drug manufacturers say the destruction of the Central Medical Stores by fire, makes a strong case for government to deepen support to their industry.
According to them, even though most of the medical and related supplies at the stores are imported, they could have collectively produced those drugs to replace the lost ones at the facility only if their industry had been developed enough.
The Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association of Ghana (P-MAG) says even though government has provided financial stimulus package to about five out of the twenty indigenous companies, the development emphasizes the need for more of such support to more entities.
The Executive Secretary, Kwabena Asante Offei explained to Joy Business, this is because the economic benefit transcends the health sector.
“If we had a very thriving well-developed pharmaceutical industry, then if something like this happens, we’d just take a few days, maximum a week for the industry to produce new medicines to replenish the lost stock and meet the local demand.”
He said even though the disaster has come with a cost, it could be managed once government enters into some agreement with the local industry.
Citing past success stories, he also rejected suggestions that they may still not have the capacity to meet the local pharmaceutical demands even with government’s support.
“The major problem facing our industry and indeed the private sector as a whole is financing, the cost of financing is quite expensive locally. Before Ghana changed from Chloroquine to Artemisinin-based combination therapy, our local industries were the ones producing the Chloroquine.”
He said after the change, “our industries started producing those medicines, then the Affordable Medicines Facility for Malaria Programme kicked in where the donors would pay for the anti-malaria medicines to be manufactured outside Ghana but supplied in the country at a lower cost.”
The best solution in his view is for the government to help the local industry by making purchasing the drugs from those producing locally, to enable them earn more money to expand their facilities.