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General News Tue, 2 Sep 1997

Pharmaceutical Exposition Opens In Accra

Accra, Aug 27, - A Pharmaceutical exposition today opened in Accra under the theme "Harnessing the potential of the Pharmaceutical Industries and services towards improved healthcare for all". ''Pharma Expo '97'', organised by the Association of Representatives of Ethical Pharmaceutical Industries (AREPI) as part of their fifth annual general meeting showed products manufactured in Ghana including those for the treatment of diabetes, asthma, malaria and eyecare. The aim is to highlight achievements and contributions of the pharmaceutical industry in Ghana and the role of the Association in ensuring that drugs are made available to the public. Mr Samuel Nuamah-Donkor, Deputy Minister of Health, urged members to work within the provisions of the National Essential Drug Policy. He said it was unfortunate that members have been promoting drugs outside the essential drug list in the public health institutions. ''Whilst it is not the intention of the government to place a limitation on your activities, it is important to understand that these policies and provisions have an overall development implication''. Among others, the Deputy Minister said, the policy is aimed at ensuring that resources are used to the maximum benefit of all Ghanaians and so using public health intitutions in promoting drugs outside the list should be seen as counter developmental. Mr Nuama-Donkor said it has been observed that large disparities exist in the cost of treatment for similar diseases depending on the source of drugs used. ''For example, it will cost as low as 500 cedis to treat a simple uncomplicated malaria using drugs on the essential list but the same treatment can cost over 20,000 cedis using drugs from other sources''. Mr Joshua Addo, chairman of AREPI said several medications, medical schemes and remedies are being promoted on the market and it is important for the public to understand their uses to promote health for all. He said the drug companies will be contributing to an overall improvement in public health by raising awareness of certain types of diseases.

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