Otumfuo To Assist Cancer Drug Producer Set Up In Kumasi
Otumfuo Osei Tutu II with the Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni
The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, has offered land in Kumasi to a Ugandan pharmaceutical company, Cipla Quality Chemical Industries Limited (CiplaQCIL), to set up a plant to produce cancer drugs.
The company, which is a global name in the manufacture of drugs targeted at three major diseases — malaria, HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis B — has already started moves to establish a permanent presence in Ghana, according to its Executive Chairman, Mr Emmanuel Katongole.
Addressing the Asantehene and his entourage at the factory last Wednesday, Mr Katongole said he had encountered “frustrations” in Ghana so he wanted the Asantehene to intervene to enable the company to establish the multi-million dollar plant in Ghana as soon as possible.
He said: “We need commitment from the government to buy our products as it’s happening in Uganda.”
Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, who promised to follow up on the challenges the company faced in Ghana when he returned home, then assured the company that he would provide land for the factory in Kumasi.
The Asantehene is in Uganda to participate in the 20th anniversary of the coronation of the Kabaka of Buganda, Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II.
He also took time off to tour the company’s factory floor.
Intra Africa trade
Mr Katongole said the company was already supplying one of its malaria drugs, Lumartem, to Ghana, adding that intra-Africa trade was key to bring the continent out of challenges.
“If we are able to increase trade among ourselves, we should be able to eliminate foreign aid,” Mr Katongole said.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu II stressed the importance of the cancer drug manufacturing factory in Ghana, especially as the disease had become a major killer. He also noted that the factory would help provide jobs for the Ghanaian people.
The Asantehene faulted African leaders for doing less to foster trading among their countries.
“Every year, they meet in Addis Ababa talking about Africa trading among itself but when they retire to their various countries, they do their individual things,” he said, stressing that the old order must change.
CiplaQCIL is a government-brokered partnership between Cipla Ltd, one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical manufacturers, and a Ugandan firm, Quality Chemicals Ltd (QCL), to manufacture antiretroviral, antimalarial and Hepatitis B drugs.
Their products are currently distributed in 12 African countries, including Ghana.