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BOG must assist pharmaceutical companies – CDD’s Dr Sarpong Aseidu

CDD-Ghana’s Democracy & Development Fellow in Public Health, Dr. Kwame Sarpong Aseidu is urging the Bank of Ghana (BOG), to come to the aid of the pharmaceutical companies with some favorable forex arrangements just as is done in other sectors to help save cost of rising medications in Ghana.

With the depreciation of the cedi and a high cost of living staring at most Ghanaians in the country, many people fear this could affect pharmaceutical companies operating in the country.

The costs of medicines have been affected significantly upwards. Ghana’s pharmaceutical market size was approximately US$616 million in 2020 and was forecasted to grow at a rate of 5.3% annually over the next ten years.

Of this market size, 70% was made up of imported products with the remaining 30% being produced locally. It must be stated that 83% of all materials for local manufacturing are also imported, making the sector heavily sensitive to foreign exchange rate fluctuations.

In reaction to these developments, Dr Sarpong Asiedu believes the time for the BOG, the Health Ministry and government to take action in the sector is now as this will save Ghanaians from further purchasing medicines at a high cost.

He was speaking on Abusua Nkomo on Abusua 96.5 with show host Kojo Marfo. 

“The Bank of Ghana needs to give the pharmaceutical sector forex at a preferential rate just as they do with the petroleum companies (BDC’s). They must also look at their letters of credit from development banks in Ghana with a low interest with a low payment terms. The NHIS delay in payment to community pharmacy’s must stop because now it looks like the pharmaceutical importers are acting as bankrollers for medications in the country which cannot be sustained. The NHIS must pay monies owned pharmacies”. He pleaded.

“The pharmaceuticals manufactures now say they won’t give retailers medications again. If you don’t have cash you won’t be supplied , so apart from the medications going up and the non-payment of NHIS arrears will also lead to non-availability of medications on the shelves because when it gets to the time where the NHIS is making payment of the arrears to the community pharmacies , they will be paying at the 2021 rate of which by then an repurchase of medications will be up by 120%…so he or she will get the medication just about half, the retailer will then have to up the prices of the medication” he said.

Dr Sarpong Asiedu is urging key stakeholders in the pharmaceutical sector to take up the matter urgently and act to avert any calamity.

“We all need to think carefully in the direction we are headed as a people. If we don’t take care, we who are in this country will face challenges in the pharmaceutical sector. The ministry of health and government needs to be serious about the matter because medications are going up in this country, we did some few spot checks, even the October pricing has still gone up again and we are only two weeks in November”, he observed.

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