AGI calls for deliberate action to grow pharmaceutical industries

Date: 2018-11-21

Yaw Adu Gyamfi, President of the Association of Ghana Industries, has called for a conducive business environment and deliberate policies to enable the pharmaceutical industries to tap into the enormous potential in the value chain for growth.

He said the many opportunities in the Pharmaceutical value chain were yet to be fully harnessed, because of excessive imports and unfair competition.

“Ghanaian pharmaceutical products, obviously have good potential in Ghana and the entire sub-region and even beyond, but due to challenges in our business environment, we tend to import so much instead of making frantic effort to produce them in Ghana to further our industrial development agenda,” he said.

Dr Gyamfi, who was speaking at the 29th Anniversary Celebration of the African Industrialization Day, which falls on November 20 each year, said high production costs, underdeveloped infrastructure, absence of new technologies/equipment for productivity enhancement, weak regulations and institutions, and unfair competition from foreign markets was making it difficult for the sector to harness the opportunities in the sector.

Besides, the current level of integration within the pharmaceutical chain within West Africa, and Africa as a whole, is weak, he said.

The 2018 Industrialisation Day highlights the opportunity to identify innovative, solution-driven actions and policies to advance pharmaceutical production on the continent.

It is on the theme: “Promoting Regional Value Chains in Africa: A pathway for accelerating Africa’s structural transformation, industrialization and pharmaceutical production”, in the context of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa (IDDA III).

The pharmaceutical industry constitutes an important factor in advancing the continent’s development. In a study based on data from the African Development Bank, the World Bank and the World Health Organization, among others, the value of Africa’s pharmaceutical industry was estimated to have jumped to $20.8 billion in 2013 from just $4.7 billion a decade earlier.

It is estimated that by 2020, the annual market’s worth at $40 billion will increase to $65 billion.

Dr Gyamfi said AGI considered the African Industrialization Day as an important platform to assess the performance of Africa’s industrial programme and how effective they had been implemented to make the expected impact.

“Our interest therefore goes beyond a mere formality of organizing an event, but rather to take stock of the happenings in Industry over the past year and chart a common path forward,” he said.

“This is the reason why we consider the focus of the UN on the pharmaceutical sector this year, very appropriate. It gives us the opportunity to re-examine, re-think and re-strategize to bring our pharmaceutical value chain with Africa forward,” he added.

“The Africa Industrialization Day evokes deep thoughts and reflections on our continent’s level of industrialization. Each celebration also presents us with the opportunity to re-echo the challenges that tend to stifle our industrialization agenda as a continent while we think of ways of dealing with these challenges,” he said.

In message, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres said: "The development of a competitive and sustainable pharmaceutical manufacturing sector in Africa can help promote better health and well-being and sustainable economic growth."

Industrialization, with strong linkages to domestic economies, will help African countries to achieve high growth rates, diversify their economies and reduce their exposure to external shocks thereby contributing to poverty eradication through employment and wealth creation.

Mr Kwadwo Asare Tewnefour, the Managing Director, Entrance Pharmaceuticals and Research Centre, said pharmaceuticals sales in Ghana reached $302million in 2016 and estimated to rise to $590million in 2026, adding that it provided a good opportunity for local pharmaceutical industries to strategically position for access and growth.

In his presentation on traditional medicines, Dr Dennis Dwomoh, Chief Executive Officer, Daproof Power Touch Limited, said sustainable local production of traditional medicines would require an effective partnership between traditional health practitioners, researchers and requisite institutions, pharmaceutical industries, farmers, and the private sector.

Source: GNA