Lack of regional shipping line hampering pharmaceutical export

SONY DSCLack of direct shipping line from Ghana to other coastal West African countries is making it difficult for the local pharmaceutical companies in Ghana to access the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) market.

Mr Gopal C. Vasu, the Director of the M & G Pharmaceutical Limited, an indigenous pharmaceutical company, who disclosed this in an interview with the Times Business on the sidelines of the maiden ECOWAS Industrial Summit, said the challenge was making it very expensive to export pharmaceutical products from Ghana to other ECOWAS countries.

“Ghana has become the hub of pharmaceutical products in the sub-region and there is the need to address this shipping problem to make it easy for players in the industry to export to the other West African markets,” he said.

Mr  Vasu  explained that before his company could export two containers of pharmaceutical products  to the Gambia, the containers  had to be sent to  Spain before being shipped to the Gambia, saying this caused delays in meeting the deadline of clients and also increase the cost of export.

Despite the difficulty in shipping to other West African countries, Mr Vasu said, his outfit was working hard to explore the other ECOWAS markets.

M and G Pharmaceuticals Limited which started operations in Ghana more than two decades  ago and is the fifth largest Pharmaceutical company in Ghana,  is currently  exporting to Liberia, Gambia and is making efforts to enter the  Sierra Leonean market.

He said the company, which produces medicines such Cafalgen, Ezipen, Polyfer Forte and antibiotics for the local and West African market, was investing research and development to come out with new drugs, saying his outfit was the first company to be selected by the USAID to produce Zintab for the management of pediatric illnesses.

Mr Vasu commended the Ministry of Trade and Industry for organising the ECOWAS Industrial Summit, saying it was laudable programme and suggested that the programme should be organised every year to create a platform for the local pharmaceutical companies to showcase their products.

By Kingsley Asare

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