Johnson and Johnson enters pharmaceutical market

March 9, 2017
Source: Rashidatu IBRAHIM/thebftonline.com/Ghana
Johnson and Johnson enters pharmaceutical market

Multinational healthcare company, Johnson and Johnson, has unveiled its new offices in Accra to begin full operations in the country. The move is aimed at delivering integrated approach to improving the health of the people through the distribution of the company’s drugs and other medical devices.

In an interview with the B&FT at the opening ceremony, Jane Griffiths, the company’s Group Chair for Europe, Middle East and Africa, indicated that after several analyses, the company settled on coming to Ghana and making it headquarters, largely because of the country’s stability, among other factors.

“We did a big analysis across the whole of Africa; actually about what would be the best market to move into first. We have distributed in Ghana, but we wanted to establish a legal footprint so we looked at the stability of the country.

One of the most important things the team looked at was the percentage of GDP that is spent on healthcare in the country which is some level of indication of the government’s efforts towards improving the health of its people,” she added.

She also noted that the company is open for partnerships with other entities including the government and NGOs to increase access to healthcare and ensure its affordability as well “so we can jointly deliver great healthcare.”

The Group’s Chair also assured of the company’s resolve to ensuring that their coming to Ghana provides employment for the local people to drive the company’s success.

“You do not want a company in any local country populated with expatriates. You want to create jobs locally, and that is my commitment. As we grow, the number of people that we need will grow, and the greater our contribution to the economy.”

The group’s work in Ghana would also include multidisciplinary teams focusing on some major health issues in the country like mental health, diabetes, HIV, and cancer, and bringing on board innovative products to tackle the issues.

In a speech delivered on behalf of the Vice President of Ghana at the ceremony, Health Minister, Kwaku Agyemang Manu, expressed government’s excitement at the coming of Johnson and Johnson to Ghana’s pharmaceutical space.

This, he said, is an indication of the realisation of government’s vision for healthcare delivery in the country, and further assured of its support for private entities in that regard.

“It is the vision of the President, Akufo-Addo to build a favourable business environment so that Ghana will be seen as a preferred destination for investments not just in West Africa, but in Africa as whole and I believe your presence at this time is only the beginning of the realization of that vision,” he said.

He added: “Government also recognizes that it cannot deliver its healthcare priorities alone and as such believes in the private sector as the engine of growth.”

The minister entreated the multinational company to consider putting up a manufacturing facility in the country or partner local manufacturers to produce some of its products.

Ghana’s pharmaceutical manufacturing sector currently comprises 38 registered firms, employing a wide range of professionals including pharmacists, chemists, engineers and technologists.

Data shows that out of this number, more than 75percent of the companies are owned by Ghanaian entrepreneurs, with three listed on the Ghana Stock Exchange (Starwin, Ayrton and PZ Cussons).

The Ghanaian pharmaceutical market is made up of approximately 30% locally produced and 70percent imported products, which originate mainly from India and China.

This, notwithstanding, most of the major local pharmaceutical companies also export their products to countries in the West Africa Region, and aside Nigeria, Ghana is the only country in the West Africa Region with a significant pharmaceutical manufacturing industry.