Pharmaceutical Society asks National Health Insurance Authority to halt pilot scheme

The Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana (PSGH) has called on the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) to halt the implementation of its pilot scheme and ensures that every facility accredited to provide pharmaceutical services are licensed by the appropriate regulator.

A statement issued and signed by Professor Alex Oto Dodoo, President of PSGH, on Friday said pharmaceutical practice (and service)in Ghana is regulated by law, the Pharmacy Act (Act 489) of 1994, which spells out among others requirements and procedures for practice and service delivery in pharmacy.

It said the Governing Board of PSGH notes with concern most of the facilities accredited and chosen for the pilot project were facilities and premises, which had not been licensed to provide pharmaceutical service as prescribed under the Act.

The statement further said that the human resource criteria for accreditation of pharmaceutical service providers under the pilot capitation project, also offended the statute and rendered to non-effect existing law on pharmacy and the supply of medicines.

It said that the Governing Board acknowledged the progress made and reaffirmed its commitment to and support for the Scheme and all the numerous initiatives the Authority was undertaking to improve access, quality and efficiency in health delivery in Ghana.

It added that the board was worried that these developments posed a potential risk to public health and safety as the specialized skills and knowledge of the pharmacist and the regulatory standard of the Pharmacy Council and Pharmacy Act had been ignored by the NHIA in such huge national exercise.

The statement further indicated that risk creating in health care delivery system excludes the pharmacist, who is a critical player when it came to medicine safety, rational use of prescriptions and monitoring, necessary for the survival and sustainability of the scheme for future for all Ghanaians.

The Governing Board also urged the Authority to collaborate with the Pharmacy Council to as soon as possible ensure that only lawfully licensed facilities, premises and personnel were used in the exercise to ensure the legitimacy, success and sustainability of the whole pilot process.

The statement also added that the Board remained open to any emergency measures to rectify these anomalies prior to the taking off of the pilot project.

The board further stated that the issues and concerns raised should be urgently addressed before the commencement of the exercise as it would not hesitate to use any means available to it (including resort to the courts) to safeguard and ensure that the proper professional and legal process were dully adhered to in the best interest of quality, safe, rational drug use, public health and the highest standard in the practice of pharmacy everywhere in Ghana.

It said that the PSGH remained committed to the ideals and aspirations of health insurance in Ghana and had demonstrated that through continuous engagement of the NHIA, patience with the financing of the scheme in the formative years and the commitment of its members across the nation in ensuring the success and growth of the scheme.

The statement, however, added that as friends of the human race, the PSGH equally felt obliged to the good people of Ghana to ensure that the highest standard in the practice and provision of pharmaceutical service and care were upheld by all and sundry, including Government and its agencies.

Source: GNA

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