Health Policy Consultant and Former Minister of Communications, Dr Edward Omane Boamah

A policy health Policy Consultant has said government to start looking into trade and intellectual property issues that may arise should an emergency drug or vaccination for Covid-19 become available on the market.

Dr Edward Omane Boamah explained on the Super Morning Show Monday, that when a drug or vaccine for the treatment of Covid-19 patients becomes available on the market, it does not mean it will be easily accessible in terms of cost to Africans.

“If we are not careful, the vaccine may be developed, the drug may be developed and they may not be available to us even though they are available on the market.

We need to start looking at the trade and intellectual property issues that will come out of the vaccines that are being developed and also the drugs that may be developed,” he said.

He stressed that the African countries must come together and engage at the World Trade Organisation level with the Ministry of Trade acting as an ambassador for Ghana.

“It’s no more the Ministry of Health [dealing with Covid-19], the Ministry of Trade has an important role to play,” the health consultant added.

He disclosed that one of the ways the country can gain access to the drug or vaccine when it becomes available is what Sanofi, a pharmaceutical company did for an anti-malarial drug it developed.

“Sanofi which developed an anti-malarial drug waived the patent rights of the drug for all to produce the drug for use.

He urged the government to consider kickstarting the process to ensure that once a drug or vaccine is discovered, it becomes not only readily available but also affordable.

“If they are available on the market, they must be affordable,” Dr Omane Boamah said.