Ghana’s capacity to produce anti-retroviral drugs at risk

The members of the Parliamentary select committee interacting with officials of the company

The members of the Parliamentary select committee interacting with officials of the company

GHANA’s production of anti-retroviral drugs can be hampered if it fails to raise six million dollars complementary funding to access a loan from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

ECOWAS has approved a 9.5 million dollar loan to support the production of the drugs, but government needs to raise six million dollars to support the local company that produces the drug, Danadams Pharmaceutical Ghana Limited, for its expansion project in order to meet the World Health Organisation (WHO) certification.

The ECOWAS loan would be missed if the complementary funding is not raised by October 31.

This was disclosed on Friday, when the Parliamentary Select Committee on Health visited the company to access its ongoing project and discuss ways of solving the problem.

The Vice Chairman of the committee, Wisdom Gidisu, promised that the committee would assist the government to get the funding for the project.

“We would ensure that government provides the assistance on time to the company to complete its project and provide quality health care to Ghanaians,” he stated.

He said it would be sad to allow the company to lose the funding from ECOWAS to achieve its objectives, which could be linked to those of government, such as providing adequate and accessible health care and creating employment.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Danadams, Dr. Yaw Adu Gyamfi, explained that ECOWAS had pledged a loan of 9.5 million dollars to the company to allow it to complete the expansion project which would meet the international standards and ensure that it got the World Health Organisation’s pre-qualification that would allow them to access the Global Fund and other benefits.

“But the money must have a complementary six million dollars from government which has taken over two years for it to be raised, and we are currently faced with a deadline of this month ending to raise the money,” he stated.

Dr. Gyamfi said the project was estimated at 22 million dollars, adding that the company had raised seven million, with ECOWAS pledging 9.5 million dollars, and the additional six million dollars expected to be raised by government to complete it.

“We stand to lose the ECOWAS money if we do not get the money from government, and would also not get the WHO certification,” he stated.

“When the money is approved by government, ECOWAS through the Export Trade, Agricultural and Industrial Development Fund, would release the fund to complete the project,” he explained.

The CEO said the WHO certification would allow them to have access to the local and international markets, especially as far as the distribution of the anti-retroviral drugs was concerned.

The Nigerian government, he said, had put up 200 million dollars to support three companies to get the pre-qualification from WHO, and Ghana would be left out in the ECOWAS region if it was unable to get the funding to complete the project.

“There are about 5.4 million HIV patients in West Africa, which means there is available market for the drugs and the money can be recouped to repay the loan that would be provided by government,” he said.

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