The Ministry of Health on Tuesday reiterated government's commitment to equip local manufactures to become prequalified for the World Health Organisation (WHO) to place locally produced medicines on the international markets.
Mr Kwaku Agyemang Manu, Minister of Health opined that any nation that desired development, must strive to be self-sufficient in the generation of all its energy needs, as well as grow its food requirement and produce all of its medications.
"Once this is done, the country is put on the path to self-sufficiency and growth become inevitable," the Health Minister stated in a speech read on his behalf at a two-day Researchers and stakeholders in the Pharma-space symposium in Accra.
The symposium, which is to discuss best ways to promote the local manufacturing of pharmaceuticals in the country, is being organised by the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana (PSGH).
It is also expected to assess the production, delivery and consumption of medications in Ghana while exploring the potentials of positioning Ghana as a viable pharmaceutical manufacturing hub in sub-Saharan Africa.
It would also deliberate on how to address the effects of low patronage, funding and interest in locally produced drugs on the health sector and the Ghanaian economy as a whole.
Mr Agemang Manu, therefore, commended the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana for bringing together stakeholders to review the past and current situation of local pharmaceuticals.
Professor George Gyan-Baffour, Minister for Planning observed that though the government had restricted the importation of about 50 medicines imported into the country, there were so many that are still being imported.
"Despite the fact that existing local manufactures had the capacity to produce medicines like ciproheptadine/ lysine, locally, there are 62 brands of the product on the market out of which only 16 were manufactured locally," he said.
He stressed the need for the government to be bold to engage industry players and ban the importation such medicines, stating that expanding the restricted list would only improve local manufacturing without hindering access.
Prof. Gyan-Baffour suggested that funding should be made available for new start-ups with specific benchmarks on the products, which the government was interested in producing locally.
"We can for example, identify a major cost driver of medicines on the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and as a national strategy look at one or two companies who can be funded to produce to meet the demands of the people," he said.
Mr Anthony Ameka, Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber of Pharmacy, said the pharmaceutical industry in Ghana currently operated under challenging business environment with attendant limitations.
He, however, encouraged the players to maximise the full potentials readily available in the sector.
He called on the government to promote the usage of locally produced medicines in all health facility as a strategy to develop the pharmaceutical industry.