Pharmaceutical suppliers to withdraw service from July 1

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The woes of the nation’s health sector seem to be deepening as the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association of Ghana (PMAG) and the Chamber of Pharmacy Ghana (CPG) have written to the Ministry of Health, serving notice over their intention to halt the supply of drugs to health care facilities funded by the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) from July 1, 2020.

According to them, the development would gravely affect over 4,000 distributors and wholesalers, over 4,000 community pharmacies and the 38 manufacturing companies in the country. The PMAG and CPG say even though they would not be able to give a figure as to how much government owes in total, the amount runs into millions of Ghana cedis.

This means the ministry, in addition to managing the spread of COVID-19 nationwide has to attended to the urgent call which has the tendency to grind health care operations to a halt.

In letter cited by the B&FT, the PMAG and CPG said: “We have noted with great concern the failure of health care facilities funded by the National Health Insurance Authority as well as the regional medical stores and providers who are party to the framework contracts, to pay for pharmaceutical products supplied to them for more than 12 calendar months.

The Chamber of Pharmacy, Ghana and the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association of Ghana do hereby call on government and the Honourable Minister of Health to as a matter of urgency ensure that all monies owed to pharmaceutical companies are paid with immediate effect.”

The letter further stated that: “This will ensure that pharmaceutical companies are not forced to initiate supplies to the service providers in question based on bank guarantees and or cash and carry as a mode of payment in their quest to ensure continuous service delivery as well as to avoid the collapse of their companies which are already distressed.”

The letter added that: “In the absences of the above, both entities will have no other option than to stop supplies on credit to all NHIA funded health facilities effective July 1, 2020. We urge government, the Ministry of Health, National Health Insurance Authority, all service providers and stakeholders to treat this issue with the utmost urgency it deserves to prevent any imminent action that will affect the medicine supply chain adversely.

For the sake of transparency, we urge the Honorable Minister of Health to ensure that payment made by the National Health Insurance Authority to all Health Insurance Service Providers are published on a real time basis.”

Speaking the B&FT, Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber of Pharmacy Ghana, Anthony Ameka said: “This is our last resort; we have engaged and continue to engage but nothing positive is happening.

We are all aware of the challenges the world is facing, some of our members had to go through a lot to get funds to import drugs, but their monies are locked up with government. We believe that this letter would be taken serious or else we will from July 1 take the very painful action.”

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