Pharmacy Council to demand digital infrastructure for licencing


By Buertey Francis BORYOR

Investing in digital infrastructure will be a key requirement for individuals starting a pharmacy business in Ghana to qualify for a licence to operate in 2025.

Additionally, it will be mandatory for all facilities providing pharmacy services in the country to operate on the National Electronic Pharmacy Platform (NEPP) from that year onward.

To ensure this, Registrar for the Pharmacy Council, Dr. Daniel Amaning Danquah – who made the disclosure during a panel discussion at the 3rd edition of the West Africa Pharma and Healthcare Conference – indicated that all public health facilities in the county are being integrated into the NEPP to take care of pharmacy services.

“As we speak, facilities in Accra are being on-boarded and there are plans to do it across the entire nation. If you are not on the platform, we will not engage you. Being on the platform is non-negotiable because without it we cannot even process your licence for you, and we are going to institute stern measures to ensure compliance,” he added.

He therefore urged entities overseeing the facilities in the country, such as the Private Health Facilities Association of Ghana, to engage their members and ensure they upgrade them to a certain level of technological advancement to allow for compliance and regulation.

The conference, themed ‘Positioning Pharmaceutical Companies to Take Advantage of the Digital Revolution in Pharmacy and AI in Healthcare Delivery’, convened industry leaders, healthcare professionals and technology innovators to establish new partnerships and drive significant change.

Audrey Serwaa Bonsu, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana National Chamber of Pharmacy (GNCoP), emphasised the importance of proactive stakeholder engagement and capacity building within pharmaceutical associations. She stressed the necessity for members to be updated and upgraded to seamlessly integrate into the system, ensuring that everyone benefits when the policies are fully implemented.

On the other hand, Richard Frank-Torblu – General Secretary for the Private Health Facilities Association of Ghana, appealed to government to provide essential digital infrastructure nationwide. This infrastructure will facilitate the efficient operation of pharmaceutical facilities regardless of their location.

“When you move away from Accra to other parts of the country, there are areas where you have to go to a particular location before you can get Internet service; and this is happening at a time when we are all being told to go digital. Technology limits the scope of work in such areas and also makes it difficult for the facilities be digitally compliant,” he also said.

Dr. Samuel Otuo-Serebour, Managing Director of Drugnet Ghana and a panelist at the event, commended the regulator for creating the NEPP. However, he lamented that only a few people are aware of it. He urged the Pharmacy Council to drive engagement with consumers to enable them also leverage the platform as pharmacies plug in.

“For consumers, it starts from them having good knowledge about the product and knowing the value they stand to derive from it. There is also a need to intensify public awareness efforts about telepharmacy, because only a few people know about it and are taking advantage of it,” he noted.

Meanwhile, in his welcome address at the conference, Dr. Godwin Acquaye – Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Business and Financial Times (B&FT), highlighted the immense potential of artificial intelligence and the convergence of digital innovation for pharmaceutical companies. He added that by harnessing the power of technology, they have an opportunity to enhance drug development processes, personalise treatment plans and improve healthcare outcomes on a national scale.

Explaining further, he said: “In today’s rapidly evolving landscape, the convergence of digital innovation and artificial intelligence presents immense potential for pharmaceutical companies to revolutionise patient care and drive innovation.

“Throughout this conference, we will delve into the strategies and solutions that will enable pharmaceutical companies to position themselves at the forefront of this digital revolution. We will explore how data analytics, IoT devices and telemedicine platforms can optimie operations and improve patient outcomes. Additionally, we will examine the role of technology in revolutionizing clinical trials and delivering personalized medicine solutions. But beyond the technology, this conference is about collaboration and partnership,” he elaborated.

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