BACKGROUND TO THE PROJECT
Ghana does not have enough cheap and safe drugs to combat life-threatening diseases. Imported medicine produced by international manufacturers is expensive, and the quality of local products is often inadequate. Many Ghanaian drug manufacturers work with outdated technologies, and monitoring is virtually non-existent. As a result, lower-quality or counterfeit medication gets onto the market.
The country’s Ministry of Health is keen to remedy the situation by providing independent quality checks. Drugs are to undergo a strict process of checks by the regional regulatory authority before they are released onto the market, and certified laboratories are to undertake ongoing product monitoring. In many cases, however, the laboratories still lack the capacity and scientific expertise required for this task.
So-called bioequivalence studies are required in order to license generic drugs that are still of high quality but relatively cheap. These test whether a generic contains the same level of active ingredient as the original product. Ghana intends to set up a testing and research centre for drug monitoring and bioequivalence studies.
The project helped to plan a centre for pharmaceutical quality monitoring in Ghana by conducting analyses, giving advice and engaging in dialogue with various stakeholders. Expertise from North Rhine-Westphalia went some way towards providing important strategic guidance during the lab centre’s start-up phase, enabling the planning stage to be accelerated and putting the planned testing and monitoring centre on a sustainable institutional and economic footing.
Activities focused on drafting a concept for the laboratory:
In a first step, an appraisal mission visited Ghana, where a team of experts held discussions with the relevant actors and familiarised themselves with the situation and general conditions on the ground. The range of services offered and the economical and technical viability of building the laboratory were investigated in a feasibility study.
The team of experts then devised a concept for building a centre for pharmaceutical quality monitoring. This concept defined the laboratory services to be provided by the centre, and determined the basic criteria for planning, constructing, equipping and financing it.
The stakeholders in Ghana were involved in the planning process for building the laboratory centre right from day one. Several dialogue events gave delegates the opportunity to find out about and discuss the concept behind the laboratory. The requirements of all parties involved – from ministries and scientific institutions through to the pharmaceutical companies – were incorporated into the design. The result was a laboratory concept that fits the general conditions in Ghana as closely as possible. This concept was presented to the steering body in the Ghanaian Government.
Advising the steering body
The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH spent three months advising its Ghanaian partners and the Ghanaian Government’s steering body.
Title: Supporting the Creation of a Regional Analytical Testing and Development Laboratory in Ghana
Term: November 2013 – February 2014
Supported by: State Chancellery of North Rhine-Westphalia