Ghana’s vaccine production efforts will not be successful if it does not create a favourable regulatory environment to enable it deliver safe and effective vaccines within the African sub-region.
This is according to the President and Founder of Mpedigree, Bright Simons.
President Nana Akufo-Addo, during his 26th update on measures taken to reduce the rising cases of COVID-19 in the country, announced that government is set to give some US$25 million as seed money towards the establishment of a National Vaccine Institute to spearhead the country’s efforts at producing vaccines locally.
Speaking at the third edition of the Ghana Pharma Summit in Accra, Bright Simmons urged government to create a Regulatory Harmonisation Scheme to enable Ghana stand a better chance of benefitting from the production of COVID-19 vaccines on the African continent.
“The truth is that, it has not led to vaccine trade or even to pharmaceutical trade beyond a certain level. It’s not just liberalising the tariffs that would make so much of a difference. You need regulatory harmonisation. Because if it takes me one year to register my vaccine in Chad, it makes no point. So unless we have a regulatory harmonisation scheme with Ghana at the heart of it, it will be a bit difficult. But I think it’s in Ghana’s interest to align its diplomacy to push regulatory harmonisation.”
President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana, Benjamin Kwame Botwe, also noted that no matter how well-grounded the government’s objectives are, they will remain elusive if businesses in the country are not strategically positioned to fully participate.
“Government must ensure that the private sector has the environment to be able to operate, and when we talk about this environment, we are talking about the financial environment. How are financial institutions supporting, what are the risks that we are giving out in terms of finance to industry? Government will also have to look at the payment environment to ensure Private-sector companies avoid having trouble securing long-term, patient capital for vaccine manufacturing because of perceptions of high risk and uncertainty about the business case,” he added.
Meanwhile, Executive Secretary of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association of Ghana, Lucia Addae stated that although government’s intention to establish a National Vaccine Institute, is a step in the right direction, high-performing national regulatory authorities and available markets are essential for successful, long-term local vaccine manufacturing.