Hope for kidney patients: Local producers pledge infusion for dialysis
Local pharmaceutical manufacturers say they are "willing to manufacture the infusions and fluids needed for dialysis" to reduce the cost of treatment of renal failure and its complications by up to 20 per cent.
The Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association of Ghana (PMAG) said its members could produce to meet the local demand for medical supplies for the treatment of kidney failure.
The association, however, insists that the members would need a guaranteed market from the dialysis centres in order to participate in the production of such medicines.
"Some of the fluids for hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis are produced in Ghana, so more can be done,” the Executive Secretary of the PMAG, Lucia Addae-Ntiri, told the Daily Graphic.
Mrs Addae-Ntiri said the demand for the fluids and infusions from local manufacturers “was very low”, and that their production locally would have to be incentivised.
Currently, there are 40 local manufacturers, five of them manufacture infusions or drips and another has the capacity to produce renal fluids.
At least, two more are setting up to produce fluids for dialysis, Mrs Addae-Ntiri disclosed.
She added that the local pharmaceutical manufacturers would require “affordable long-term financing and incentives from government” to ensure a sustainable programme to produce locally for the local market”.
Such support, Mrs Addae-Ntiri said, could come in the form of single-digit interest rates on loans with a two-year moratorium.
Although the market for renal fluids has grown because of the new discoveries of kidney conditions in the population lately, the demand for local products has been low, mainly due to the penchant for imports.
“Very few patients knew they had renal impairment, that is kidney failure. With more equipment and technology, the number is increasing.
“The demand is increasing because of the awareness, education, screening and technology,” Mrs Addae-Ntiri said.
She said “locally manufactured fluids or medicines are usually more affordable compared to imported fluids”.
Mrs Addae-Ntiri, who has practised as a pharmacist for more than a decade, said when the local producers received the necessary financial and logistical support, it would translate into increased capacity “to meet the needs of renal fluids across the country”.
“That would also mean competitive prices to give the patients the best prices,” she added.
The offer from the manufacturers comes in the wake of the growing cost of dialysis for patients with kidney failure in the country, with the premier teaching hospital, Korle Bu, admitting an intention to raise its charges for dialysis from the current GH¢380 to GH¢765.42 per session.
Although the hospital has denied that the new charges have taken effect, its officials have admitted that the implementation of the new rates actually started before the attempt to backtrack.
In private dialysis centres, however, the procedure costs between GH¢400 and GH¢1,200 per session.
Kidney failure — also known as renal failure — is when one or both of a person’s kidneys no longer function well on their own. It is the most severe stage of kidney disease.
While the condition can be treated by a transplant, the cost of the service is expensive.
The recent breakthrough in kidney transplants by solely Ghanaian medical staff in Ghana cost $21,000 per case.