Ghana: Pharmacists root for Bioequivalence Centre to promote drug manufacturing

Accra, Jan. 7, GNA – The newly inducted President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana (PSGH), on Friday attracted a standing ovation when he elaborated his policy vision, which stressed the need for a Bioequivalence Centre to support local pharmaceutical manufacturers.
In a 12- minute inaugural address, which highlighted aspects of his 13-point manifesto for his two years mandate, Mr James Ohemeng Kyei said: “ As pharmacists, we all know from our study of Pharmacokinetics that Bioequivalent products can be substituted for each other without any adjustment in dose or…additional therapeutic monitoring.”

Mr Kyei said currently, the 22 local pharmaceutical manufacturers are excluded from accessing the Global Fund because none of them are WHO pre-qualified.

WHO prequalification of medicines is a service provided by the world body to assess the quality, safety and efficacy of medicinal products.

“The process of being WHO pre-qualified involves capacity to undertake Bioequivalence studies. However, establishment of a Bioequivalence centre is capital intensive. It will cost about $3 million and therefore beyond the means of our local pharmaceutical manufacturers,” Mr Kyei explained.

He said the millions of dollars released under the Global Fund to procure drugs from other countries is not helping the national economy, stressing that the Ghana National Drug Policy document has pledged commitment to provide the needed funds and technical support to promote the development and growth of local pharmaceutical industries.

Mr Kyei recalled a promise made by Vice President John Dramani Mahama in March 2009, when he addressed a conference of West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacists in Accra of government’s commitment to establish a Bioequivalent centre.

“This will make our local pharmaceutical products WHO pre-qualified and internationally competitive resulting in access to the Global Fund. The ripple effect includes job creation for pharmacists and ancillary staff.”

He also outlined plans to build the capacity of pharmacists in collaboration with the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and the Pharmacy Council to operate as “Seven-Star Pharmacists.”

A seven-star pharmacist is supposed to be a care giver, decision maker, communicator, leader, manager, life-long learner, teacher and researcher.

Mr Kyei asked the National Health Insurance Authority to give the same incentives and support to community pharmacists as is being done for private hospitals and clinics, which include payments of total direct costs and indirect and overhead costs.

Mr Joseph Yieleh Chireh, the Minister of Health, expressed government’s resolve to establish the Bioequivalent centre once funds for the project have been sourced.

He said President John Evans Atta Mills had directed the setting up of a committee to oversee the implementation of the project.

Professor Alex Dodoo, immediate past President of the PSGH outlined the achievements of his administration, which included a number of interventions to build the confidence of pharmacists and provision of a conference centre and office space for the society.

“We will leave history and posterity to judge us,” he said.

Prof Dodoo spoke against the interdiction of three pharmacists in relation to a probe into activities involving the Food and Drugs Board since November 2009, saying although an audited report had been sent to Parliament, the personnel are still at home.

“This is compelling the citizenry to lose confidence in the institutions of the State and undermines the rule of law and the country’s young democratic dispensation.”

Justice I.O. Tanko Amadu, a judge at the High Court, who administered the Official Oath and the Oath of Secrecy, cautioned the eight-member executive that they risk penal consequences if they go against the oaths they had taken.

Mr Kwabena Ohene Manu, a veteran pharmacist and Chairman of the event expressed confidence that the new executive of the PSGH have the right vision to push the society forward.

The past executives were awarded certificates whilst Prof Dodoo decorated Mr Kyei with the official chain of office.

Source: Ghana Web.Com – 7 Jan 2012