Managing Director of CalBank PLC, Philip Owiredu is advocating for more partnerships and investments in the development of critical drugs and improve the logistics necessary to boost the local production and supply of pharmaceuticals in the country.
According to him, this will help curb the over-reliance on imported drugs which has led to the decline in the provision of the necessary resources to grow the industry.
Recent data from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa indicates that Africa manufactures less than 2 percent of the medicines it consumes, while importing about 70% from outside the continent at an annual cost of 14.5 billion dollars.
He made the call whiles addressing investors at the CalBank, Ghana National Chamber of Pharmacy Leadership Conversation Series in Accra.
“We can actually see the relevance of the pharmaceutical sector in this country and as a financial institution we always seek to partner with very significant sectors in the country, with the objective of ensuring that we promote the development and growth of the country. So, as we all heard from some of the panelists, we seem to identify ourselves with certain significant things, industries like the cocoa and pharmaceutical sector.”
“There are certain sectors in this country that seem to be under the radar but very relevant. As part of efforts to implement the bank’s target market strategy and also to make significant in-roads in the healthcare sector, the bank has partnered with the Ghana National Chamber of Pharmacy (GNCoP) to among other things, improve the knowledge of stakeholders within the sector through events such as the Thought Leadership Seminar, with the aim of enhancing the understanding of the industry”, he noted.
Chief Technical Advisor at the AfCFTA Secretariat, Prudence Sebahizi also called on African governments to introduce strategies and invest more in the productive capacities of pharmaceutical companies on the continent.
According to him, this will help build sufficient local capacity as part of the continent’s long term plan for reducing the sector’s dependence on imports, as well as protecting companies within the industry.
“When I was in the Ministry of Trade, we were discussing with sugar producers who were seeking protection from government. But when we went checked the statistics, they were only producing 10% of the sugar that is consumed in Rwanda. How can they assure us that if we protect them, they will supply the market? I think that’s the starting point. If you go to the pharmaceutical industry, we have seen the figures that we are still importing up to $16 billion. Are we able to produce those $16 billion worth of pharmaceutical products?”
“Then we protect our market. So if each and every country is relying on imports, then there’s no point in protecting that country itself. What we need to do is to come up with a strategy for Africa, a strategy that will allow us to invest in our productive capacities,” he said.
Chairman of the Chamber of Pharmacy Council, Harrison Abutiate, expressed confidence that the concerns of funding will be addressed through the partnership.
The CalBank – Ghana National Chamber of Pharmacy Leadership Conversation Series in Accra was held as part of efforts by both institutions to partner to support the creation of a strong pharmaceutical industry in the country.
This partnership will see the bank supporting the creation of the Pharma Park at the Dawa Industrial Enclave and other pharmaceutical developments.