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Bringing Pharmaceutical Equity to Guyana and the Caribbean 

WASCO Laboratory director with their benchtop Priorclave autoclave (WASCO, St. Lucia): “This benchtop comes with all of the cycle controls we need for our busy lab—you don’t usually get so many features in a compact unit. We love it!”

Guyana’s pharmaceutical industry is extremely important to the entire Caribbean, serving as a linchpin connecting these islands and small nations. Without Guyana, the international pharmaceutical supply chain otherwise often overlooks the region.

Unfortunately, in large part due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this region has struggled to procure pharmaceutical products. This has been driven by pandemic-era changes in office staffing levels and production timeframes. Those disruptions have been compounded by inflation in the costs of shipping and logistics. The region’s access to lifesaving treatments feels like it is largely governed by the whim of distant CEOs, the vagaries of tropical storms, and trade agreements where no one from the Caribbean or Latin America even has a seat at the table.

But that’s on the verge of changing. In late 2022 Guyana was part of a groundbreaking pharmaceuticals manufacturing deal bringing together the Caribbean, Latin America, and Africa to develop and manufacture pharmaceuticals. This instance of Global South Cooperation (made in late 2022 on the sidelines of COP 27) is sure to further the cause of pharmaceutical equity for global public health. The key initiative arising from this agreement will shift at least 60% of the research/development and manufacturing of essential pharmaceuticals for these Global South partners to within their respective continents by 2040.

“One of the most important lessons of the pandemic,” according to World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, “is that manufacturing capacity for medicines, diagnostics, vaccines, and other tools is concentrated in too few countries. … International networks can play a crucial role in expanding local production, such as this new partnership between Latin American and the Caribbean and Africa. I welcome [this initiative], which emphasizes the importance of expanding not only manufacturing capacity, but also regulatory capacity, with technical expertise and the trust of communities.”

Partnering for Research Capacity

The specific goal of this “transatlantic bridge” agreement is to produce key cancer treatment drugs, preventive/therapeutic vaccines, and women’s reproductive health medicine using local manufacturing that is in full compliance with the COP21 Paris Climate Accords.

President Mohamed Irfaan Ali of Guyana said “I am honored to be a part of this groundbreaking initiative that is a testimony to true South-South cooperation. From the outset I congratulate my Colleague Honorable Mia Amor Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados for stewarding this cause and to His Excellency Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda for his role in advancing this partnership that would provide the opportunity for the peoples of Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean to have access to pharmaceuticals developed within their own regions.”

Priorclave wholeheartedly supports building regional capacity for research and development throughout the Global South, and especially in Guyana and the Caribbean.  

As Priorclave North America CEO Barbra Wells notes, “It’s sad that so few people realize how important Guyana’s pharmaceutical industry is for their Caribbean neighbors. These islands are all too often overlooked by international pharmaceutical companies when it comes to doing business. At best, they are treated as potential customers, rather than equal partners.”

Priorclave—a leading supplier of robust research-grade autoclaves—hopes to play at least a small role in reversing this trend. Priorclave’s affordable, reliable autoclaves are available in sizes from compact benchtop models to 100+ liter models. They’re already hard at work in St. Lucia and Guatemala on a daily basis.

Ready to explore ways to build your pharmaceutical research and manufacturing capacity in the Caribbean? Don’t hesitate to contact us whenever you’re ready.