Coronavirus: President rues country’s dependency on imported drugs

President Akufo-Addo has expressed worry about the country’s dependency on imported medicines which has led to shortage of some medical supplies in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak in Ghana.

Even though local pharmaceutical companies say they have stepped up the production of hand sanitizers and other medical supplies, high demand for such products have created shortage on the market, especially, after government announced six people now have COVID-19 in the country.

In a meeting held at the seat of government in Accra with pharmaceutical manufacturing companies, the President said the coronavirus pandemic has exposed the country’s weakness in the area manufacturing of medical supplies, as there is shortage of hand sanitisers and inadequate supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), hence, the need for a conversation with players to address the matter.

“Our country, our economy, our society is too dependent on foreign made things across the board. We are not just talking pharmaceutical. We are far too dependent on the things that are made abroad and imported by us to use. We should be making most of the things we use in Ghana ourselves. I am seeing what is happening to us in this crisis as an opportunity. It has very big consequences but it has opportunities. They say necessity is the mother of invention and advisedly so.

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So, I called you here for all of us to put our brains, minds and hearts together to see a way forward for the future of our country. The relevant decision that are going to be made today are not going to transform the situation today or tomorrow.

But then we will be putting in the building blocks, the platform, for the transformation of tomorrow and I felt that the leaders of the pharmaceutical industry in our country together with some of the leading bankers here, the regulators of industry, officials of government, we can come together with this coalition; we can then begin to address this deficiencies in a really systematic and programmatic manner. That is basically the reason why I wanted to bring you here together,” he said.

The meeting was also attended by governor of the central bank, Dr. Ernest Addison and other the heads of state-owned banks and financial institutions, and members of the interministerial committee on the COVID-19 Response.

The country has about 35 pharmaceutical manufacturing companies, but just about 30 to 40 percent have the capacity to manufacture hand sanitizers. Some manufactures are said to be having enough raw materials for the production of sanitisers but to do not have packaging bottling materials for storage and distribution.

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