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Company Reports - Kinapharma Ltd  

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Kinapharma Ltd

Pharmaceuticals for everyone

Written by Ellie Duncan & Produced by Eric Konadu

The largest manufacturer of essential drugs in Ghana, Kinapharma Ltd plays a vital role in the health of the country and in other parts of West Africa. Managing Director, Kofi Nsia Poku, pioneered the pharmaceuticals company in 1991.
Pharmaceuticals for everyone

The largest manufacturer of essential drugs in Ghana, Kinapharma Ltd plays a vital role in the health of the country and in other parts of West Africa. Managing Director, Kofi Nsia Poku, pioneered the pharmaceuticals company in 1991. At the time, he was teaching at a university, but decided to set up a small pharmacy in his spare time in order to dispense medicine to the local community.

Since then, Kinapharma has diversified its product range from its production site in Accra, Ghana, to include ethical/prescription drugs, generics or me too drugs, and over the counter drugs (OTCs). “Today, we have a very big range for different ailments,” says Poku. “We also have plans to do ointments, suppositories and antiseptics.”

NEW PRODUCTS TO MARKET
Africa’s health issues are well-documented. However, Poku is determined that Kinapharma provides solutions and supports local communities. He strives to bring “at least” two to four new products to market every year in a bid to cure Ghana and other West African countries of their ills. “We are constantly developing new products,” he explains. “We are very innovative and that is why we have become the market leader. I constantly think about what we can put on the market.”

Thanks to Poku’s ambition and pursuit for medical breakthroughs, Kinapharma has established itself as a strong presence in Ghana. “We supply to every pharmacy, every institution, every hospital; everywhere that medicine is used in Ghana, you will find Kinapharma there.”

There is constant demand for anti-malaria drugs and HIV products in Africa, due to both diseases’ prevalence throughout the country. Kinapharma is working with The Global Fund to supply products to the country which requires large volumes of medicine to be produced. From its site in Accra, Ghana’s capital, the company manufactures some of its pharmaceuticals. “About 50 percent of business takes place in Accra,” explains Poku. “It has easy access to all the regional capitals and it is about 30 minutes from the port, where we export.

“It is also near the airport where we can fly smaller items out of the country.”

EXPANSION
However, there are plans to upgrade Kinapharma’s facilities in the not too distant future. “We constantly expand and we are thinking of putting up a brand new, state-of-the-art facility in 24 to 36 months,” he adds. There are currently about 300 pharmacists, biochemists, chemists and lab technicians working from its site in Accra. With outlets and offices in every regional capital, Kinapharma’s presence is inescapable. Once the new facility has been constructed, the company will require an additional 150 employees. “It is my aim to make sure that by the time I retire, we will employ 1,000 Ghanaians – that is my target,” Poku states, adding this his retirement is 11 years away. Certainly, that figure seems entirely possible in light of Kinapharma’s growth up until now."

Poku’s long-term aim is not simply to support local economies through employment; he wants to achieve something far more worthy – the provision of healthcare for all in West Africa.

At the moment, Kinapharma exports to over 12 countries, particularly the francophone ECOWAS countries, like Togo, Burkina Faso, Benin, Mali, Niger, Sudan, Senegal, Guinea, Gambia, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Poku expects the company to be present in Nigeria by the end of next year. “We have to strengthen our presence in these countries to make sure that products reach the poorest places, so that people can have access to medicine,” insists Poku.

In fact, Kinapharma’s medicines are in such demand that the company has increased turnover this year, defying the recession.

TRAINING COMMUNITIES
Kinapharma conducts scientific presentations on current molecules and therapies with product launches for doctors, pharmacists, medical assistants, midwives, dispensary technicians, licensed chemical sellers and pharmacy shop assistants. In conjunction with the Pharmacy Council, the company is also training members of African communities to dispense pharmaceuticals – something that Poku believes is “essential”. “If they do not have training, they will be disadvantaged and dangerous – they may cause harm,” he says. Similarly, in-house training for its employees is a priority of Kinapharma’s. “They are the driving force of the business,” he says of his employees. “Therefore, it is important that we give them the necessary training to be effective in whatever pharmaceuticals they are handling.”

Poku’s determination and goodwill have seen Kinapharma come this far, so it seems there is little that will stop the company from continuing to provide much-needed healthcare to some of Africa’s poorest countries. “Kinapharma is there for the people. We will make good, affordable products.

“We will make sure they are made available everywhere – in every country, in every corner – so that the people of West Africa can have access to medicine.”

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