The President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana, Pharm. Samuel Kow Donkoh has led a highly powered delegation of various stakeholders of the pharmaceutical sector to dialogue with the Minister for health, Kwaku Agyemang-Manu. The engagement was on the adverse impact of the current economic situation on the supply chain systems within the pharmaceutical space. This was a follow up to the PSGH press release on the impact of the current economic hardships on patients and pharmaceutical businesses.

The delegation included representatives of the PSGH, the Ghana National Chamber of Pharmacy (GNCoP), the Pharmaceutical Importers and Wholesalers Association (PIWA), and the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association of Ghana (PMAG).

Central to the discussion was the consensus that current inflation and other macro-economic parameters have invariably affected drug costs through exchange rate fluctuations and devaluation of the Ghanaian cedi. Notably, retail prices for some of the most widely used medications continue to rise exponentially. The current situation has reduced the import and manufacturing capital of companies thereby threatening medicines security in the country.

The turbulence in the supply chain of medicines is also compounded by delay in reimbursement of service providers by the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). Currently, the NHIS has failed to reimburse service providers for about nine months.

This means that the country is at risk of a wide-spread pharmaceutical poverty and shortages of essential medicines. This could erode the gains of universal healthcare coverage as Ghana aims to ensure that everyone can use necessary health services without experiencing financial hardship.

According to the pharma group, it is important, as a matter of urgency for the Ministry of health to engage with the Ministry of Finance, Bank of Ghana and the Ghana Association of Banks to support the pharmaceutical sector with forex solutions and loans at preferential rates to ensure the availability of medicines to Ghanaians. The group also called on the minister to put in measures in place to ensure that service providers receive their outstanding reimbursements and to prevent undue delays in reimbursements in the future.

On his part, the honorable minister for health, Mr. Kwaku Agyemang-Manu acknowledged that the pharma sector is very crucial in achieving universal health coverage and facilitating national development. As a businessman himself, he truly can identify with the challenges the sector is facing. He said that Government attached much importance to the health of all Ghanaians and would do everything possible to help improve the sector.

He assured that his ministry will leave no stone unturned as they engage the finance ministry so that service providers of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) will be reimbursed promptly to enable them to contribute to the efficient delivery of health services.

From left to right: Pharm. Kwabena Offei Asante (Vice President PSGH), Pharm. Harry Amoaning Okyere (Dep. Executive Secretary, PSGH), Mr. Vasu Gopal (PMAG), Dr. Bright Agyekum (Director of Procurement, MOH), Pharm. Samuel Kow Donkoh (President, PSGH), Pharm. Dr. (Mrs) Joyceln Azeez (Chief Programs officer, Pharmacy, MOH), Dr Baffour Awuah (Acting Director of Technical Coordination, MOH) Hon. Kwaku Agyemang-Manu (Hon. Minister), Pharm. Dr. Charles Fordjour(GNCoP), Pharm. Mrs. Patience Tsegah (Vice Presient, PIWA), Mr. John Nyarko (GNCoP) and Mr. David Kafui Klutse (PMAG)