The Ministry of Trade and Industry, in collaboration with the Ghana National Chamber of Pharmacy, has launched COVID-19 Support Measures to mitigate the impact of the disease on the pharmaceutical sector.
The initiative, supported by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) of the United Kingdom, seeks to support Ghana’s pharmaceutical sector with GHS3,327,750 over 12 months.
It was on the theme; “Supporting Industry Resilience for Sustained Production and Supply of Essential Medicines and Employment”.
It will support advocacy efforts of the Ghana National Chamber of Pharmacy as well as accelerate the development of local capacity for diagnostics and vaccine production platforms.
Mr Alan Kyeremateng, the Minister of Trade, speaking at the launch, commended the partners and stakeholders for their collaborative role in ensuring that the pharmaceutical sector received the needed support to realise its full potential.
He said the support would position Ghana as a pharmaceutical manufacturing hub in West Africa.
Mr Kyeremateng said the pharmaceutical market in Ghana was estimated at USD600 million with a compound annual growth rate of 13.9 per cent.
However, local production supplies was about 33 per cent of the national essential medicines’ requirements, he stated.
“With about 38 pharmaceutical manufacturing companies, Ghana’s pharmaceutical manufacturing is considered among the most vibrant within the ECOWAS sub-region,” he said.
Mr Kyeremanteng said that positive perception of the country’s regulatory capacity among the neighbouring countries positioned her to export to the sub-region where the market share of imports was estimated at over 70 per cent.
The Minister said with the operationalisation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in January 2021, the industry would be able to take advantage of the wider market to be created.
He assured stakeholders in the pharmaceutical sector of the Government's commitment to working collaboratively with industry players to make Ghana the new pharmaceutical hub in West Africa, if not for the whole of the Continent.
Mr Harrison K. Abutiate, the Chairman of the Ghana National Chamber of Pharmacy, said out of the GHc3,327,750 funding, GHc350,000 would be used for grants for selected and eligible local pharmaceutical companies on COVID-19 prevention measures, essential medicines production and the supply chain activities.
He expressed appreciation to the FCDO for assisting the Ministry and the Chamber in reviewing the draft Pharmaceutical Sector Development Strategy, advocacy for the establishment of vaccine production in Ghana, and also conducting capacity audits and Standard Operating Procedures on social distancing in the pharma sector.
Mr Abutiate called for continuous guidance, patience and understanding in executing the various aspects of the programme, which needed a dedicated manager.
Mr Philip Smith, the FCDO Development Director, said with the impact of COVID-19, it had become imperative to work closely with Ghana on building industrial capacity to support the pandemic response and achieve faster post-COVID economic recovery.
He said currently the UK bilateral support to the sector was being provided through the Jobs and Economic Transformation Programme.
“Under this programme, we predominantly provide technical assistance and other policy support to both the private sector and government to support the growth of key priority industrial sectors,” he said.
Mr Smith noted that in the pharmaceutical sector the support included joint analysis with the Government on the potential for investment, job creation and broader economic development outcomes.
“We have also provided technical assistance to improve private sector inputs into the policy discussions around the Ghana Pharmaceutical Development Strategy,” he said.