Ghana National Chamber of Pharmacy has announced the adoption of the Cash and Carry regime for the supply of pharmaceutical products to government and other institutions.
Ghana National Chamber of Pharmacy (GNCoP) including Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association of Ghana (PMAG) and Pharmaceutical Importers & Wholesalers Association of Ghana (PIWA), Importers say, the current economic downturn including the exchange rate is telling on their business hence the move.
Addressing a Press Conference held at Mikaddo Conference Center, chairman of the Ghana National Chamber of Pharmacy, Pharm. Harrison K. Abutiate explained that the move has become necessary to save their ailing businesses.
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“The Pharmaceutical Industry is credit-driven. Public Sector pays on the average 6-12 months, because of delayed payments of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). Majority of private facilities make payments for all supplies within 3-4 months. In the current circumstances of daily devaluation of the cedi, it’s imperative to state that pharmaceutical supplies on credit under this time has led to erosion of operational capital of pharmaceutical importers and manufacturers,” he said.
He said the fast depreciation of the cedi has affected the price of medicines on the counter as some pharmaceutical supplies are up by 100 percent as a result of the devaluation of the local currency.
He also bemoaned the reversal of the discount on benchmark value which has negatively impacted the cost of doing business in the country.
According to him, if the situation remains the same, local manufacturers will be forced out of business to create room for fake products to dominate the market.
“On the industry front interest in continuous investment in official and pharmaceutical business is waning. Very soon a sizeable number of industry players may be forced to fold up or lay off staff. This becomes a dangerous recipe for criminals to engage in nefarious activities and flood the market with fake and sub-standard products just to compromise quality and efficacy of medicines, thereby putting the health of all Ghanaians at risk.
“Ghana National Chamber of Pharmacy, the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association of Ghana, and the Pharmaceutical Importers and Wholesalers Association of Ghana, therefore, call for an immediate action to save the industry.
“The Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning should release funds to immediately to pay for the long-standing debt of over 9 months and to push to clear all overdue debts.”
The President of the Pharmaceutical Importers and Wholesalers Association, Mr. William Adum Addo and Pharm. Kofi Agyekum Addo, CEO of Kofi Krom Pharmacy also added that the impending crisis is capable of affecting lives and the health of the nation.
“The effect of medicine prices will not only result in challenges with medicine availability and accessibility but most importantly the quality of life of Ghanaians, because we all know health is wealth. They cannot afford the exorbitantly high cost of medicine,” they said.
Mr. Addo indicated that the group has decided to provide medicines solely on cash basis due to the prevailing economic situation.
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“All transactions with immediate effect shall be on cash basis until the economy stabilizes,” he emphasized
This decision is expected to have dire consequences for the supply of medicines, particularly for Ghana’s National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) which largely operates on a credit basis.
Mr. Addo, therefore, recommended that the NHIS and other private health insurance companies seek funds to purchase medicines on a cash basis for distribution to patients under the schemes.
GNCoP also encouraged “end user institutions that is retail pharmacies, private hospitals and clinics to secure loans from banks to buy medicines with cash.”
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