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17.12.2008 Health

AstraZeneca To Intensify Collaboration With Health Sector

By Daily Graphic
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The Vice-President of the pharmaceutical giant, AstraZeneca, Mr James Ward-Liley, says his company will identify areas of collaboration in the country's health sector and offer the needed support.

 Mr Ward-Liley, in charge of Central, East Europe, Africa and Middle East, who was on a two-day working visit to Ghana, said his company held discussions with the government on possible areas of support and collaboration to improve lives in the country.

Already, AstraZeneca, which has a country office and a major representative, Ernest Chemists, offers skills training for some health workers, sponsors, physicians and surgeons to courses and workshops outside the country to give them exposure and help them to be abreast of current issues in the health sector.

“We will continue to provide high quality and differentiated products, add value to the physicians and support the government's health programmes,” Mr Ward-Liley told the Daily Graphic in an interview.

His visit was to show AstraZeneca's commitment to the sub-Saharan and West African region to break away from the tradition by some pharmaceutical giants writing off the region as small and without prospects.

“We see Ghana as a huge market going forward, which we will also use to tap into the West African market. There is an increasingly burgeoning middle class, and that is why we look at Ghana as a place to do more business,” the AstraZeneca vice-president stated.

He said the oil find in Ghana also presented a great opportunity that the company would tap.

The company engages in research, development, manufacturing and marketing of meaningful prescription medicines and suppliers of healthcare services.

An international player, AstraZeneca has health care annual sales of $29.55 billion and is a leader in gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, neuroscience, respiratory, oncology and infectious medicines.

Mr Ward-Liley said since the company's prime aim was to develop new innovative medicines, it would not rule out the possibility of harnessing some Ghanaian expertise for its operations.

The company spends about $ 5 billion annually on research and development, so as to be more efficient and effective in its line of activity of producing unique high grade medications. It has no medication for HIV/AIDS.

The Country Manager of AstraZeneca, Mr William Ofori, said the company was poised to offer quality differentiated products for the Ghanaian and the West African regional market, saying it was not only marketing, but  also adding value to professionals and the entire health system.

The company has been associated with a number of skills sharpening workshops in and outside the country to give exposure to pharmacists and doctors to change their worldview and attitude as well as to refresh them with latest developments Story by Samuel Doe Ablordeppey

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