Speaking to in-PharmaTechnologist about his recent statement to the authorities, Gyamfi – whose firm manufactures medication for the local area – said the country has been relying on donations to buy drugs from other countries for too long.
He said the current system has hindered the growth of the local pharma industry, adding “enough is enough”.
“The current system is not sustainable, especially in today’s financial climate. We’re relying on donations money from other countries, when everyone’s budget is being used to look after their own people and if the money stops we are left up in the air,”he said.
The amount of drugs imported using donations is also dangerous, he added.“We import a lot from China and India, and if for instance there is another Tsunami in the region, then we don’t get any medicine.”
On Tuesday Gyamfi will meet with the Ghanaian Health Committee of Parliament asking them to dedicate a section of the new budget to establishing local manufacturing facilities, from raw material production right the way through to finished product.
He said:“We need to wake up and we need more manufacturers to take care of our own
“If we established a set figure, say 10 per cent, more plants would open up here, you would create a more sustainable drugs source. You would create more jobs. You create stability.”
Drugs funding schemes have already been successfully established in other African countries such as Tanzania and Uganda. Gyamfi added:“Others have done it, the precedence is set, and it can be done.”
Gyamfi is confident authorities will take notice, and believes this year will see a major shake-up for the Ghanaian healthcare system.
And with more focus on healthcare for Africa – the government in the South recently established a $1bn investment fund in a bid to produce 60 per cent of the region’s drugs locally – he is confident Ghana will see more action like the rumoured Lonza API (active pharmaceutical ingredients) manufacturing deal.
However he admitted that if the system is established, the pay-off will be gradual.
He said:“If for instance over the next three years you want to build a plant to produce raw materials, like it seems Lonza wants to, the initial cost will of course be high. It’s the same for establishing any new facility.”
But for manufacturers pondering a foray into the country, he added:“The effect in five years will be so dramatic. Everything in life is difficult at the beginning if you want to see a pay-off.”