3 Anesthetic drugs now locally produced
A local pharmaceutical company, Atlantic Life Sciences, has begun the production of three inhalation drugs for anaesthesia that were hitherto imported.
They are isoflurane, sevoflurane and halothane, which are all administered through inhalation.
The drugs were launched at a symposium in Accra last Thursday which also engaged professionals who administer the drugs
The meeting brought together registered and certified anaesthetists, representatives of health facilities, among others stakeholders.
Anesthetics are used during tests and surgical operations to cause loss of sensation, numbness in certain areas of the body or induce sleep often referred to as anaesthesia to prevent pain and discomfort.
The local production will help to reduce the cost of the drugs which are very expensive on the local market.
At the symposium, it came to light that despite the fact that halothane was no longer used the world over due to the harm it could cause to the liver as well as other implications, a few African countries such as Ghana, were still holding on it as their main anesthetic in a majority of public health facilities.
Atlantic Lifesciences is currently the only lifeline to the country’s dependence on halothane as it is currently the only producer and supplier of the drug.
The Chief Executive Officer of Atlantic Life Sciences, Dhananjay Tripathi, said the company was determined to help localise the pharmaceutical sector by producing some key consumables to ensure increased access to pharmaceuticals such as vaccines, infusions, eye drops, among others.
He hinted that from next week, the company would start the production of anti-snake bite serum , an essential but expensive and scarce drug locally.
“Atlantic Lifesciences, a Ghanaian manufacturing company, takes immense pride in our commitment to delivering high-quality anesthetic products, right here in Ghana’’.
“The significance of "Made in Ghana products and Anaesthetics on the African continent is not just a tagline; it's a testament to our dedication to quality, safety, and accessibility in the area of local production.
He encouraged all stakeholders and Ghanaians to patronise made-Ghana-products, saying it was critical in boosting the local economy.
“Let us embrace this day as a reminder of our commitment to the health and well-being of the people of Ghana and the broader African continent. “Made in Ghana “is not just a label; it fosters a sense of national pride and identity; it's a symbol of excellence, and together, we will continue to raise the bar for anesthesia care,” he said.
Explaining why halothane was still in use in Ghana when the world had stopped administering it, the President of the Ghana Association of Certified Registered Anaesthetists, James Nwinsagra, said the drug was still dominating because it was the cheapest, and that its possible effect on patients was not being considered.
Some participating anaesthetists, including Belinda Quartey and Martha Adjovi, reiterated that the situation was so because most health facilities were still using obsolete anaesthesia machines that could only administer halothane.
The immediate past President of Ghana Association of Certified Registered Anaesthetists, Wumbai M. Jacob, suggested that the production of halothane should stop so that decision makers would be forced to go for new generational options that were safer.
Presenting a lecture on inhalational anesthetics: how to use them economically, the guest speaker and a professor of Anaesthesiology and critical care at the Loma Linda University in the United States of America, said anesthesia providers should take up environmental stewardship as they were responsible for the environmental impact of anesthetic vapours and gases.