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GNCoP calls for review of payment terms

The Ghana National Chamber of Pharmacy (GNCoP)has called for an urgent need to review payment terms to save the pharmaceutical industry.

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 Association of Representatives of Ethical Pharmaceutical Industry (AREPI), Community Practice Pharmacy Association (CPPA), Over the Counter Medicine Sellers Association and the Ghana Pharmacy Owners Association as well as special individual members.

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

At a joint press conference held in Accra yesterday, the groups mentioned the continuous rise of the exchange rate, inflation, interest rates, fuel prices, utilities, payment terms, the reversal of the benchmark value among others as challenges affecting their businesses.

Mr William A. Addo, President of PIWA, said, the economic indicators affected prices of general goods and services and the effect on prices of medicine would affect the quality of life of Ghanaians because they could not afford high cost of medicines.

He said investment in pharmaceutical industry was waning and operators in the sector may be forced to fold up or lay off staff.

“This becomes a dangerous recipe for criminals to engage in their nefarious activities and flood the market with fake and substandard products, which eventually tends to compromise quality and efficacy of such medicines, thereby putting the health of all Ghanaians at risk,” Mr Addo said.

He said, “Majority of private sector facilities make payments for all supplies within three to four months. In the current circumstances of daily devaluation of the cedi, it is imperative to state that pharmaceutical supplies on credit under these terms has led to erosion of operational capital of pharmaceutical importers and manufacturers.”

Mr Addo complained that, the reversal of the benchmark value had negatively impacted the cost of doing pharmaceutical business in Ghana.

He said importers of finished pharmaceutical products were made to pay 70 per cent of applicable taxes on medicines instead of the 50 per cent they used to pay.

Mr Addo called for an immediate action to save the industry, saying “all transactions with immediate effect, shall be on cash basis until the economy stabilises.”

The chairman of GNCoP, Mr Harrison K. Abutiate, suggested that, all end user institutions (retail pharmacies, private hospitals and clinics) should be encouraged to secure loans from banks to buy medicines on cash.

He asked the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning release funds immediately to pay for the long-standing debts which was over nine months.

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

“The MOH/GHS and NHIS should as a matter of urgency meet with the leadership of the above Associations to discuss possible financial reengineering to save the situation,” he added.

BY VIVIAN ARTHUR

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