Saturday, September 22, 2012

Why are research-based pharmaceutical companies almost non-existent in Africa

The economic factors are only superficial, the deeper roots of this problem is lack/low level of "Scientific Temper" in the African culture. Prof. Bruce Alberts explained this concept of "Scientific Temper" so beautifully at the GYA meeting in South Africa this year. In our Universities, less than 20% of the students pursue science/engineering and fewer go on to careers in science. Where the critical mass of scientist and engineers are trained, research-based enterprises are common. 

We have many Pharma companies in Ghana that are only interested in ready-to-market means of production (import of semi-finished products). And its true that LaGray Chemical Company is a very big exception. These companies are not interested in the longterm and audacious goals of a 10-15 years target-therapy projects that companies like Novartis is addicted to. This is not due to lack of resources but lack of interest, I have seen many Pharma companies in Ghana branch into fruit juice and mineral water production, which are quick and readily profitable. Once people with scientific temper take charge, the investments will follow them and not the other way around.

The GYA is the Global Young Academy - the voice for young scientist around the world. 

If you are a young scientist, under age 45, feel free to apply for membership. 
There is an open call now for membership.

"LaGray Chemicals Company in Nsawan, Ghana, does not seem to be involved in research-based pharmaceuticals although it is stated on their website that they are involved in drug discovery">>>>

I wish to confirm to you that they are indeed a vertically integrated Pharma Company. I have a standing collaboration with on discovery projects and they have many such research activities going on.

In addition to this, LaGray is the first company in Ghana to undertake API synthesis and they do this routinely. Whenever you are in Ghana please pay them a visit. I read their webpage and went over to have a discussion and the collaboration start right away.

There is the need for more funding and that is will bring more progress. 

Patrick Kobina Arthur, PhD

No comments:

Post a Comment