US-based Ghanaian surgeon begins $50m plant to produce affordable drugs

A US-based Ghanaian Surgeon, Dr Michael K. Obeng, has started the construction of a pharmaceutical plant in Ghana to manufacture affordable, effective and quality medications.

The 50 million dollar plant, located at Akwamu in the Eastern Region, would enable the country to produce medications that meet international standards for the management of high blood pressure, diabetes, and treatment of malaria and other pains.

Addressing the media on Tuesday in Accra, Dr Obeng said the plant would take approximately 14 months to complete and employ 120-150 people, “it is estimated that the first phase should be up and running nine months post commencement of the project”.

Dr Obeng said the first phase of the plant was a partnership between his MiKOPharma and Sushen Medicamentos in India.

He said the manufacturing practices at the plant will be in conformity to the  World Health Organisation’s (WHO)-Good Manufacturing Practices.

He added that there was the need to strengthen pharmaceutical manufacturing in Africa in order to improve public health outcomes and the economic impact.

Dr Obeng said the Africa Report, the latest United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) showed that Africa imports more than $16 billion worth of medicines and medical supplies annually.

“Most of these are generic medications that can be manufactured locally. The African continent’s pharma market is projected to grow at a rate of 5.9 per cent, reaching a total of 25 billion dollars by the end of 2022,” he said.

According to Dr Obeng, these medications would make a vital contribution in curbing and mitigating the challenges and risks associated with counterfeit medications imported from parts of China, India, as well as Pakistan.

He said Africa’s pharmaceutical industry had great potential for boosting economic growth and job creation.

“Given the current sustained and rapid economic growth, the African pharmaceutical industry, like that of other emerging markets, is expected to grow tremendously in the coming years,” he said.

“Drugs by Africans for Africans remains a bold vision of mine for our continent to promptly and constructively begin contributing to the pharmaceutical sector through manufacturing, processing and harnessing the collective power of Africa,” He said.

Mr Tapan Shah, the Executive Director and Sushen, said his outfit was committed to providing end-to-end pharmaceutical services with broad experience in the development of high-quality pharmaceutical products in the field of generics finished formulations.

“If there’s one thing that the pandemic has taught us, it is that Africa is fertile with innovation, and there’s a massive opportunity for the continent to transform its healthcare. With our broad experience in pharmaceutical product development, we are thrilled to be part of this vision”, he said.


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