Pharmaceuticals industry sets target: 70% of Ghana’s needs

Home-grown firms aim to scale up production to shift the trade balance in favour of made in Ghana drugs

In a move meant to reduce the importation of pharmaceuticals and other chemical products into Ghana, the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association of Ghana (PMAG) has targeted the ability to produce 70% of the country’s essential pharmaceutical needs.

The association hopes to cut the volume of drugs that the country imports as well as open up job opportunities.

At present, the 15 local pharmaceutical companies in Ghana account for 30% of the country’s essential drug needs; the remainder is imported.

The key is financing

The chief executive officer of Ernest Chemists Ltd, Ernest Bediako Sampong, says that his company is rolling out plans to expand its existing infrastructure and to introduce modern technology that will improve the productivity of its operations.

All that is needed to achieve the targeted output, he says, is adequate financing, which he hopes will be forthcoming from the Government of Ghana.

Sampong made these remarks on Friday as he received board members of the Ghana Export-Import Bank (EXIM Bank) who were on a tour of pharmaceutical companies in the Greater Accra Region.

All of the firms have been funded by the bank over the past three years to boost production.

Appropriate technology

The Ernest Chemists boss commended EXIM Bank for investing in Ghana’s pharmaceuticals industry and helping it to undertake innovative projects and acquire appropriate technology to boost production.

“We are calling, however, for funding support to be made sustainable in order to allow us to complete some of our ongoing projects, since a lot of pharmaceutical products are going to be manufactured locally.

“We also intend to export. That means we will earn foreign exchange, employ more people and train them to acquire skills needed to improve the system,” he said.

Early this year, EXIM Bank secured a credit line of US$100 million from the international investment bank Credit Suisse. EXIM announced that it would invest most of this money in the pharmaceuticals industry.

Eugene Selorm Owusu

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