Local pharmaceutical giant, Intravenous Infusions PLC, says it is in discussions with the government to explore the possibility of producing COVID-19 vaccines locally.
The move comes on the back of a global shortage of vaccines leading to fears of dire consequences in Africa and other deprived countries.
President Nana Akufo-Addo, during his 24th COVID-19 address to the nation, announced that the government has established a committee to formulate a concrete plan for vaccine development and manufacturing in Ghana.
This is because Ghana is currently struggling to find additional vaccines to inoculate a sizeable number of the populace.
Currently, the government is looking to procure second jabs for over 400,000 persons, after it secured a little over 350,000 doses from the Democratic Republic of Congo under the COVAX facility for some persons who had already taken their first jabs.
In that regard, many stakeholders in the health sector have been hinting at plans to begin local production of the vaccines.
One of such is Intravenous Infusions PLC; the first pharmaceutical company to begin production of intravenous fluids in Ghana.
According to the Managing Director of the company, Mouhktar Soualihu, they are in talks with the government to begin production of COVID-19 vaccines after their new factory is completed.
He was speaking to the media on the sidelines of their fifth Annual General Meeting held in Accra on Friday, June 25, 2021.
“We are very much interested especially as a pharmaceutical company in the government going to promote the production of COVID-19 vaccines. We will look at what is actually coming up from the government. Our colleagues in the industry are also interested, and we are all working hard to make this government dream a reality.”
He continued, “The vaccine production is very similar to what we do as a company. So we are studying the trends and see how we can find probably strategic feet between the production of that and what we are doing now. We would look at what the standard is required for the production of that, and then we’ll see how we can upgrade our systems to enable us to take advantage of that.”
Outlook for the year
The Board Chairman of Intravenous Infusions PLC, Isaac Osei, further outlined future plans of the company, which includes the production of “other non-drug areas such as medical consumables and disposables”.
“We will strengthen our local market dominance and the export market opportunities will be pursued. The Board will intensify its ongoing collaboration on product development with Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) School of Pharmacy. As part of our product diversification strategy a number of new products are being brought on board under a contract manufacturing arrangement with a company from India,” he stated.
Construction of a new factory
As part of the company’s efforts to expand its production, work on a new factory is set to begin.
“New plant and machinery have been procured and delivered to the factory awaiting installation. We have obtained approval from the Food and Drugs Authority for the commencement of the construction of the new factory premises. The Board and Management are currently sorting out some technical and financial details to make way for the commencement of construction of the premises,” Isaac Osei announced at the AGM.
This project is coming into reality after the company secured a medium-term loan facility of US$3.2 million from Ecobank Ghana Ltd under the Government of Ghana Stimulus Package for the procurement of plant and machinery; and expansion of the factory.