MOH calls for stakeholder unity to address medicine pricing challenges
He said this was crucial as interventions on medicines’ prices were critical for the public health interest and played a pivotal role for the sustainability of private sector partners.
Mr Oku-Afari made the call at the launch of the first National Pricing Strategy for Pharmaceuticals and other health technologies in Ghana.
The strategy seeks to, among others, improve containment of pharmaceutical costs in the health sector, establish a transparent framework to provide information on pricing of medicines, and ensure that prices were optimised for all stakeholders.
It also aimed at ensuring financial sustainability for the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) through price optimisation and the availability of medicines and other health technologies within the supply chain.
The Chief Director explained that the National Medicines Policy (NMP) third edition, 2017, defined policy interventions to help optimise prices in Ghana.
These interventions, he said, required effective pricing strategies and price monitoring mechanisms to ensure that the impact of the policies on prices benefited the health system.
Mr Oku-Afari said the newly launched strategy would therefore ensure availability, affordability, accessibility and quality medicines to enable the country to attain Universal Health Coverage.
All these efforts highlighted the Government’s ambition to promote evidence-based decision making in healthcare and called for stringent multi-stakeholder process, inclusion and consensus-building for the best outcomes for the health system, he stated.
Mr Kofi Addo-Agyekum, National Executive Council Member of the Chamber of Pharmacy, was hopeful that the implementation of the strategy would be swift and productive for sustainability.
He said prices of medicines could be stable and very affordable if the macroeconomic fundamentals such as inflation, exchange and interest rates were handled delicately and undue delays in payments for all supplies corrected.
Mr Addo-Agyekum proposed a payment tenure of 30-60 days after full supply of all awards to ensure protection and sustainability of the private sector.
“Private sector can play its role effectively when such parameters that erode the value of its financial resources are checked.”
He appealed to the Government to ensure timely release of funds to the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA).
Dr Francis Kasolo, the World Health Organisation (WHO) Representative to Ghana, in a speech read on his behalf, commended the Government for the significant stride taken to develop the strategy to make medicines more affordable to individuals and the health system.
The WHO estimated that one-third of the world’s population do not have access to essential medicines due to unavailability and high prices of medicines, a strand of inequity.
He said equitable access to essential medicines was crucial patient health outcomes and reduced mortality globally.
Dr Kasolo, while pledging the WHO’s continued support, called for data generation for pharmaceutical price and availability monitoring and a database that would inform high level decision making.