Local pharma makers pursue COVID-19 vaccine deals

Executive Secretary of the PMAG, Lucia Addae

… seek gov’t support to accelerate process

The Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association of Ghana (PMAG) has begun moves to pursue the acquisition of COVID-19 vaccines for onward distribution across the country.

The association says there is need to make an early move as players in the sector are ready to collaborate on manufacturing the vaccines in the country to feed the sub-region and continent. As a result, PMAG will be petitioning government for support to achieve this aim for economic transformation and to boost the sector’s fortunes.

As of today, a new vaccine that protects against COVID-19 is nearly 95 percent effective, data from US company Moderna shows. This comes on the back of similar results from US drug manufacturer Pfizer, and adds to growing confidence that vaccines can help end the pandemic. Both companies used a highly innovative and experimental approach in designing their vaccines. Moderna plans to apply for approval to use the vaccine in the next few weeks.

According to PMAG, the nation must put its foot in early at the doors of Moderna and other big pharma makers and begin to position itself as being ready to feed the sub-region and continent.

Speaking to the B&FT, Executive Secretary of the PMAG Lucia Addae said: “As a sector, what we are saying is that if there is any international company wanting to start production of vaccines in Ghana, we are willing to do so – but we would need government to lead the way.

“Also, we would need the support of other stakeholders such as researchers and academia, so that Ghana can also start manufacturing certain vaccines. We have been importing certain vaccines over the years, but it is time to develop the country’s manufacturing capacity. We have a facility coming up that will be doing manufacturing of vaccines; it is about 80-90 percent complete but needs the state’s full support.”

According to PMAG, it has begun moves to configure some manufacturing sites so they can easily access vaccines in whatever form immediately they are made available. “In vaccine manufacturing, you can have the vaccines and then do fillings – i.e., filling smaller bottles from a bulk source.

“Also, you can be given the live vaccine and you increase the quantity so that more people can have it. PMAG is saying that ‘we are not just going to distribute, we want to be able to manufacture’, so we are willing to collaborate with any multinational company that wants to manufacture vaccines in Ghana for the sub-region and Africa,” Ms. Addae intimated.

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