Guyana recommits to establishing biomedical hub to meet vaccine and pharmaceutical needs of the Caribbean

Guyana recommits to establishing biomedical hub to meet vaccine and pharmaceutical needs of the Caribbean

A health forum on regulatory systems for health products in the European Union (EU) and the Caribbean opened today at the Pegasus Hotel with a renewed commitment from Guyana to establish a biomedical hub to meet the vaccines and pharmaceutical needs of the region.

Speaking at the Technical Assistance and Information Exchange Instrument Regional Workshop, Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony said while Guyana has been manufacturing, and exporting pharmaceuticals to countries such as the USA, it intends to expand its reach through the establishment of a biomedical hub in the country.

 “The Government of Guyana, through his Excellency, the President, has made a commitment that apart from the work that we are doing in fixing our hospitals and our public health system that another part of the work would be to create a biomedical hub, and with doing that, what we envisage is an area where we can do a lot of manufacturing for pharmaceuticals, vaccines and other products but we want to follow those good manufacturing practices, and to make sure that whatever is produced here would meet the global standards,” Minister Anthony said.

Guyana has been working along with the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) to evaluate its regulatory framework, with the intention of introducing modern legislation that would create an enabling environment that would allow the pharmaceutical industry to thrive.

“We don’t intend to be the ones doing the manufacturing. What we want to do is create the enabling environment so that companies can come here and set up the manufacturing plants and manufacture from here and be able to distribute in the region,” the Health Minister explained.

PAHO Country Representative, Dr Luis Codina said the COVID-19 pandemic was a wake-up call for the Caribbean. He said at the time of the pandemic, the region’s capacity to meet its own pharmaceutical needs was very limited, particularly in the area of supply chain.

He said Guyana has demonstrated a high level of political will to transform its health sector and is moving to modernize its legislation. The PAHO Representative added that PAHO is working with countries in the region to build their capacity.

The workshop, which has been organized by the European Union Delegation in Guyana and Barbados in collaboration with the Government of Guyana and the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), is intended to provide critical insights into existing regulatory systems in both the EU and the Caribbean, and strengthen the EU-LAC partnership resilience and vaccine production.

Head of the EU Delegation, Ambassador Rene Van Nes said the Technical Assistance and Information Exchange instrument of the European Commission is a useful tool in the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals and will be of benefit to the Caribbean.

“It is a very powerful tool. TAIEX responds to more than a thousand requests for assistance per year. More than two and a half thousand EU member state experts are available. And that’s the beauty about TAIEX, TAIEX, these are experts that come straight from the member states, these are people that do the work and they are available to share that,” the EU Ambassador explained.

The two-day workshop is also being held in support of the ‘Pharmaceutical Equity for Global Public Health’ Initiative that was launched by the Prime Minister of Barbados, the President of Guyana and the President of Rwanda in November 2022.

It is also aligned with the goal of the EU Global Gateway Strategy to strengthen supply chains and local vaccine production

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