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[procaare] GHANA: Government ploughs ahead with plans to produce AIDS drugs locally

  • From: "IRIN PlusNews" <procaare@healthnet.org>
  • Date: Fri, 2 Sep 2005 18:24:50 -0000

GHANA: Government ploughs ahead with plans to produce AIDS drugs locally
- IRIN PlusNews Aug 31 2005

ACCRA, 31 August (PLUSNEWS) - A new plant has begun production of
antiretroviral (ARV) drugs as part of government plans to expand
distribution of the life prolonging treatment for its HIV-positive

Pharmaceutical company DanAdams - a joint venture between Danpong
Pharmaceuticals of Ghana and Adams Pharmaceuticals of China - has begun
production of the generic versions of the ARVs from a new plant outside
the capital Accra.

Generic drugs are not restricted by patent laws but are identical in
content and substantially cheaper than the brand-name drug, according to
the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Under Ghanaian law, only the government will be able to buy the generic
drugs, which have met standards for distribution set by the state Food
and Drugs Board (FDB).

"We are collecting our letter of approval (from the FDB) to officially
deal in these drugs in Ghana today," Yaw Adu Gyamfi, Chief Executive
officer of DanAdams told IRIN on Tuesday.

The government is currently spending about US $6 million of state funds
to provide ARVs to 2,600 patients, according to Gyamfi.

But once the government starts buying the DanAdams drugs, the bill for
the same treatments for the same number of people will drop by 45
percent to about US $3.37 million, Gyamfi said.

However, most ARV treatments distributed in Ghana are paid for with
money donated by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB) and
Malaria which insists on production quality tests by the WHO before
setting up a purchase order.

The Global Fund has approved over US $47 million of funds for health
projects in Ghana. Over US $14 million of that is to be directed to a
programme to accelerate access to prevention, care, support and
treatment of all persons affected by HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria with a
special HIV/AIDS element.

Edith Annan of the WHO in Ghana told IRIN that the Fund's assessment
process had begun, but could take a long time before a conclusion is

"It takes quite some time as it depends on the manufacturer's production
quality which can vary from one manufacturer to another," Annan said.

The first assessments of the DanAdams plant will begin in September,
said Annan, but she could give no indication when or if Global Fund
money would be used to purchase the drugs.

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