Georgetown, Guyana: Dr Leslie Ramsammy, Advisor to the Health Minister, participated as a Panelist in the inaugural “EU-LAC High-level Pharmaceutical Forum: Sharing Pharmaceutical Innovations between the European Union and Latin America and the Caribbean”, which was held on March 21, 2023, in Brussels, Belgium, according to update by Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Guyana.
The forum, hosted by EU Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, in collaboration with Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton, brought together political leaders, technical experts, pharmaceutical companies, entrepreneurs, investors, and financing institutions from Latin America and the Caribbean and the EU to explore new ways to collaborate and improve access to quality, safe, effective and affordable pharmaceuticals innovations across the two regions.
The Ministry further informed that in the subsequent panel discussions on the question of challenges, financing needs, and health policy regarding pharmaceutical production and innovation in Guyana, Dr Ramsammy gave a presentation on the long-standing challenges of equitable access to affordable medicines, vaccines, diagnostics supplies, and clinical technologies faced by developing nations such as Guyana, which predate the Covid-19 pandemic.
He pointed out that “these were the same challenges confronted during the HIV and Aids epidemic, the fight against the neglected tropical diseases and the continuing fight against Non-Communicable diseases and that the Covid-19 pandemic merely reminded us that we paid with too many lives for deferring our obligations to solve this problem”. He posited that these circumstances had compelled the Government of Guyana to seek to have local production of Vaccines and Lifesaving medicines as part of its Health agenda and is open to partnering with LAC countries and European and International Financial Institutions to make this a reality.
The Ministry stated that other notable speakers included Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines and Pro Tempore Chair – Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, EU Commissioner for International Partnerships, Madam Jutta Urpilainen, Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton, as well as panel discussions featuring various experts.
The forum was part of the lead-up to the Summit between the EU and the Community of Latin American and the Caribbean States (CELAC) to be convened in July 2023 and is one of the bi-regional events of the CELAC-EU roadmap 2022–2023.