GNCoP calls for revised payment terms

The Chamber, which is the unified voice of pharmaceutical industry groups in Ghana, is made up of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association of Ghana (PMAG), Pharmaceutical Importers and Wholesalers Association of Ghana (PIWA).

Others are the Association of Representatives of the Ethical Pharmaceutical Industry (AREPI), the Association of Community Practice Pharmacies (CPPA), the Association of Over-the-Counter Drug Vendors, and the Association of Pharmacy Owners of the Ghana, as well as special individual members.

According to the groups, the current economic challenges in the country had affected their businesses and were collapsing the pharmaceutical industry.

At a joint press conference held in Accra yesterday, the groups mentioned the continued rise in the exchange rate, inflation, interest rates, fuel prices, utilities, payment delays, l ‘reference value reversal, among others, as challenges affecting their business.

Mr. William A. Addo, President of PIWA, said that economic indicators affect the prices of general goods and services and the effect on medicine prices will affect the quality of life of Ghanaians as they cannot afford the high cost of drugs.

He said investment in the pharmaceutical industry was declining and operators in the sector could be forced to close or lay off staff.

“This becomes a dangerous recipe for criminals who indulge in their nefarious activities and flood the market with counterfeit and substandard products, which ultimately compromises the quality and efficacy of these drugs, thereby endangering the health of all Ghanaians,” Mr Addo said. .

He said, “The majority of private sector institutions make payments for all supplies within three to four months. Under the current circumstances of daily devaluation of the cedi, it is imperative to state that the pharmaceutical supply on credit under these conditions has led to an erosion of the operational capital of pharmaceutical importers and manufacturers.

Mr. Addo complained that the inversion of the benchmark has had a negative impact on the cost of pharmaceutical business in Ghana.

He said importers of finished pharmaceuticals had to pay 70% of applicable drug taxes instead of the 50% they used to pay.

Mr Addo called for immediate action to save the industry, saying ‘all transactions with immediate effect will be in cash until the economy stabilizes’.

GNCoP Chairman Mr. Harrison K. Abutiate suggested that all end-user institutions (retail pharmacies, private hospitals and clinics) be encouraged to obtain loans from banks to purchase drugs in cash.

He asked the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning to release funds immediately to pay long-standing debts that were over nine months old.

“Ghana Health Service (GHS) is advised to include medicines in the basket of items used for Consumer Price Index (CPI) calculations. Such an adjusted CPI will show a better inflation rate for pharmaceutical sector planning and strategy.

“The Department of Health/SGH and NHIS should urgently meet with the leaders of the above associations to discuss possible financial re-engineering to salvage the situation,” he added.