President indicates support for pharmaceutical exports
--- impressed with New GPC operations (Italics)

by Chamanlall Naipaul
Guyana Chronicle
October 18, 2003

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President Bharrat Jagdeo made a conducted tour of the New Guyana Pharmaceutical Corporation (NGPC) before departing for the State of Roraima, Brazil, yesterday afternoon.

The President said he was pleased and impressed with what he saw, and indicated that as long as the price and quality of locally produced pharmaceuticals can match imported ones, his Government is willing to buy from them for public medical institutions.

He also indicated that he was particularly pleased that only by midday yesterday the management knew he would be visiting. Therefore there was no "window dressing" for the occasion as is traditional in Guyana, and what he saw represented normal conditions.

Asked if on his visit to Roraima he would be pushing for export of local pharmaceuticals to Brazil, the President replied that those in the industry are capable of locating markets but he is prepared to give support in expanding Guyana's exports.

The President noted that the strengthening of relations with Brazil is not only about a road to link, pointing out that it covers a wide range of fields including agriculture, information technology, sale of electricity and fibre-optic communications among others.

Dr. Gocool Persaud who is responsible for quality control assurance at NGPC explained that strict quality control measures are in effect throughout the manufacturing process and that they are in accordance with required international standards of the World health Organisation.

Managing Director of NGPC, Dr. Ranjisinghi Ramroop told the Chronicle that since the privatization of the former state-owned corporation about US$1.5M have been invested in new machinery and equipment to modernise its operations which is now capable of manufacturing a range of 60 over the counter drugs (OTC) and 200 generic drugs in the form of tablets capsules, liquids, creams, ointments suppositories and injections. Included in this range of products are seven veterinary products of the highest quality.

The Corporation exports its products to the US, UK and the Caribbean including the French Caribbean.

Dr. Ramroop noted that with its active Research and Development Policy and linkages with overseas manufacturers NGPC will continue to dominate the regional market as the forerunner in pharmaceutical research and manufacture.

Presidential Adviser on Commerce, Manniram Prashad told the Chronicle that the NGPC is one of the most successful privatisation venture with there being no conflicts or payment problems between the owner and the Government.

NGPC is one of the region's oldest and largest manufacturers of paharmaceuticals, with its roots dated back to the mid 1920's when Bookers Drug Store was established to manufacture the proprietary medicines which, up to that time were all imported.

In December 1999, the then Guyana Pharmaceutical Corporation Ltd was privatized in accordance with the Government's Privatisation Policy and the NGPC was formed.

The corporation is under the management of a new Board f Directors and its corporate offices and manufacturing plant have been centralised and now located at farm, east Bank Demerara.