Ghanaian Surgeon to Construct US$50m Pharmaceutical Plant in Akwamu
Ghanaian plastic surgeon, Dr. Michael Obeng, has signed a deal for construction of a pharmaceutical plant in Ghana to manufacture affordable, effective and quality medications.
Dr. Obeng signed the agreement with pharmaceutical services company Sushen Medicamentos Private Limited for the construction of the plant, which will be located in Akwamu in Asuogyaman District in the Eastern Region of Ghana.
The proposed pharmaceutical plant is estimated to cost US$50 million, and is expected to take approximately 14 months to complete. The plant will be World Health Organisation (WHO) Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) certified, and will manufacture affordable, effective, and superior quality medications that meet the highest international standards.
The first phase of the project is planned to be complete and operational within a period of nine months after construction starts, and is expected to cost between US$5-8 million. On completion of the first phase, the plant will start producing drugs for the treatment of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, malaria, and pain.
Addressing a press conference in Accra, Dr. Obeng said that the pharmaceutical plant will employ 120-150 people. He also disclosed that the first phase of the project was a partnership between his company, MiKOPharma, and Sushen Medicamentos in India.
Nana Kwame Yeboah-Afari, the Adantemhene of the Akwamu Palace, warned of the perils of using counterfeit medicines and the pressing need to improve faulty pharmaceutical products. Dr Michael Obeng also spoke about the addition of a world-class research laboratory at the pharmaceutical plant, which will result in scientists coming to Ghana to live and work.
The plant was initially planned to be located in Kumasi, Ghana where it broke ground in 2018. However, the project was suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic. During the suspension, the project vision was broadened to include a vaccination centre as a consequence of Covid-19, and a bigger size of land was required to accommodate the expanded facility. In August 2021, the Paramount Chief of Akwamu state, Odeneho Kwafo Akoto III, donated one hundred acres of land for the construction of the pharmaceutical plant as well as the vaccine centre.
Africa’s pharmaceutical industry has great potential for boosting economic growth and job creation. An article published by consulting firm, Mckinsey, in 2019, reported that as much as 70 to 90 percent of the drugs consumed in sub-Saharan Africa’s estimated US$14 billion pharmaceutical market were imported. Most of these medications are generic medications, that can be manufactured locally.
The pharmaceutical market in Ghana is reported to comprise 30% locally produced drugs and 70% imported drugs. The Ghanaian government's focus is slowly shifting to locally produced medicines over the next decade. Ghana’s pharmaceutical manufacturing sector employs 5000 direct employees. A meagre ten manufacturers account for 80% of the total output of this industry.
“Our primary objective for this exciting partnership is to strengthen pharmaceutical manufacturing in Ghana and Africa as a whole. This will improve public health outcomes, not to mention the positive economic impact across the African continent”, says Dr Obeng.
“If there’s one thing that the pandemic has taught us 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 as well as its modern research facility, we are thrilled to be part of this vision”, said Tapan Shah, Executive Director at Sushen Medicamentos.
The global pandemic cast a bright light on a lack of pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities in regions like sub-Saharan Africa. In response, private individuals, drugmakers, governments and nongovernmental agencies have begun to address the issue. https://t.co/158tZXCnYi— Elsevier Pharma & Life Sciences Solutions (@ElsevierPharma1) March 21, 2022
The pharmaceutical products produced at the plant will play a critical role in curbing and minimizing the obstacles and risks related with fake medications imported from other countries.
Dr. Michael K. Obeng is a Ghanaian plastic surgeon based in the United States. Dr. Obeng specialised in cosmetic surgery, specifically having expertise in hand and neuromuscular surgery, and aging as well as complex reconstructive surgery. He is the Founder and CEO of MiKO Plastic Surgery, and the President of Global Health Solutions, a healthcare consulting firm with a mission to bridge the gap between morbidity and healthy living worldwide. Dr. Obeng is also the founder and CEO of R.E.S.T.O.R.E. Worldwide Inc. a non-profit organization which donates free reconstructive surgeries in African countries for people with disfiguring issues including deformities from birth, diseases and accidents.
Sushen Medicamentos is a pharmaceutical services company with a focus on drug delivery research and product development. Sushen's expertise includes the provision of turnkey solutions to the pharmaceutical industry, right from conceptualizing and designing a new plant to its construction and setting up of manufacturing facilities to its commissioning. The company's global headquarters is located in Gujarat state, India.
Top Photo: Tablets being manufactured in a pharmaceutical plant (Nebojsa Babij | Dreamstime)