(March 23, 2023-Monrovia): The Managing Director of the Liberia Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Authority, Pharmacist Keturah C. Smith-Chineh, has vowed the authority’s continual support to the growth of the Global Pharmaceuticals & Laboratories Manufacturing Company through regulatory functions.
Managing Director Smith-Chineh made the remarks at programs marking the official dedication ceremony of Phase One of the Global Pharmaceuticals & Laboratories Manufacturing Company complex in New Kru Town, Bushrod Island.
According to her, the LMHRA was delighted to celebrate the historical event of the opening of the first-ever pharmaceutical manufacturing facility in the country. Though very new, Managing Director Smith-Chineh intimated that the facility forms an integral part of the Government’s developmental drive to develop the pharmaceutical sector and create access to affordable medicines that are regulated fully by expertise in the country.
She continued: “This did not happen by chance but as a result of careful planning over the years and strict regulatory measures. The Government, especially the LMHRA, will continue to provide technical support for the growth of the facility through our regulatory functions.”
According to her, since 2018, when the process for the establishment and construction of the company started; the authority has worked and continues to work with Global Pharmaceuticals to ensure all regulatory measures for the construction of the facility were met.
She noted that the machines, equipment, and all Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) imported into the country, are approved by the authority and installed with proven documents of installation qualification (IQ) provided to the LMHRA; subsequently followed by the Operation Qualification (OQ) and Performance qualification (PQ) of all machines and equipment by the Authority.
Managing Director Smith-Chineh also indicated that the personnel listing of the company’s technical staff was also submitted to LMHRA for evaluation and key technical staff were licensed to ensure it meets the requirement of a pharmaceutical company.
Pharmacist Smith-Chineh asserted that following the analytical testing of the first batch of products produced by the company was followed by confirmatory testing by United States Pharmacopeia (USP)-Ghana.
Due to the confirmatory testing from both LMHRA Quality Control Lab and USP-Ghana, Managing Director Smith-Chineh disclosed that the authority, in March of this year, issued the final Goods Manufacturing Practice Certificate and Manufacturing License to Global Pharmaceuticals for a period of three (3) and five (5) years, respectively, thus giving them the authority to manufacture medicines in this country.
Despite the above, Managing Director Smith-Chineh warned that all products produced by Global Pharmaceuticals will still undergo all stringent regulatory requirements, which include analytical testing, Adverse Drug Reaction (ADR) follow-ups or safety monitoring, and post-market surveillance.
Pharmacist Smith Chineh further reported that Global Pharmaceuticals has also enrolled in the newly established Qualified Persons for Pharmacovigilance (QPPV) Program being implemented by the LMHRA to ensure that the effects of their products on patients are closely monitored.
She further indicated that positive health outcomes also come with the affordability of good medicines; so, people must be able to afford the medicines they need to remain healthy. Therefore, local production of pharmaceuticals plays a vital role in maintaining the resilience of national healthcare systems, especially when it comes to facilitating access to essential medicines scarce.
According to the LMHRA Managing Director, the availability and easy access to medication are also critical to a successful healthcare system, especially in critical circumstances that the country is confronted when it comes to the many porous border points the country has; which leads to the proliferation of substandard and falsified medicines in the country.
Pharmacist Smith-Chineh averred that since the foundation of Liberia, the dependence on the importation of foreign-made medications rather than manufacturing them locally; put the drug supply chain into making essential medicines.
She used the occasion to congratulate the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the company, Professor Nelson Oniyama, his partners, as well all the staff at Global Pharmaceuticals for their exceptional dedication and hard work in the successful establishment of this plant.
Managing Director Smith-Chineh also congratulated the team from the LMHRA, especially the Technical Advisor to the Managing Director, Dr. Flomoku Miller, Deputy Inspector General, Dr. Thomas Ko kulo and the Manager for Quality Assurance at the Quality Control Lab, Professor Alexander George; who works assiduously with Global Pharmaceuticals for the establishment of the company.
She continued: “I wish Global Pharmaceuticals every success in Liberia. LMHRA will continue to be your trusted and reliable partner as you grow your presence here, and I look forward to an even stronger partnership in the years ahead. However, let me note here that our mandate requires following tight regulations to ensure the supply of safe, quality, and efficacious medicines to the Liberian people.”
Also speaking, Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor commended the company for once again making history in Liberia, through the construction of a pharmaceutical company in the country.
Vice President Taylor however, recommended that the company ensure that all their products carried the inscription: “Made in Liberia,” to encourage the citizenry to purchase these products.
For her part, Health Minister Dr. Wihelmina Jallah noted that the construction of the pharmaceutical factory in Liberia will reduce the price of medication in the country and also ensure they are always available at health centers for the citizenry.