The Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association of Ghana (PMAG), and the Chamber of Pharmacy, Ghana (CPG), have blamed lack of transparency among other things at the Ministries of Health and Finance for their decision to withdraw their services by July 1.
That’s according to the Executive Secretary of PMAG, Lucia Addae.
The two groups have threatened to halt the supply of drugs to various healthcare facilities under the National Health Insurance Authority, if some of the arrears owed them are not cleared.
“They (the health facilities) are also saying that they receive money from the Ministry of Finance so if they haven’t received the money, they can’t give the money to the Health Facility. Sometimes, yes, they don’t have money, sometimes they do pay some of these monies to the health Facility, but there is no transparency so we don’t know whether they have actually paid the money or they haven’t”.
Many health facilities owe over 300 million Ghana Cedis worth of medication supplied over a period of five years, but these health facilities have blamed the delay in payment to the delay in release of funds for payment of NHIS arrears.
Madam Addae said, “I believe that it’s important for us all to ensure that the Pharmaceutical industry is secured and protected, because we see what is happening in the supply chain. We see what is happening in COVID times when you can’t get medicines. It is important to protect the Pharmaceutical industry; if we don’t do that, then we’ll have challenges” she warned.
She said the situation is taking a toll on pharmaceutical firms, and is hopeful their position will compel authorities to make payments soon amidst the threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“What we are telling the health facilities is that when you get your money from NHIS pay us our money. If you don’t pay us our money, what we are going to be forced to do is that we would have to halt the supply, and once you pay, we supply you, it’s business,” she noted.
The Association’s concerns come weeks after the NHIA donated GH₵250,000 towards the government’s COVID-19 Trust Fund.
The decision was intensely criticized by some persons who suggested that the NHIA’s high indebtedness to health service providers across the country should not have merited such a donation.
The Chamber of Pharmacy Ghana has raised similar concerns over non-payment of funds, forcing the Chamber to halt the supply of medicines on credit to National Health Insurance accredited health facilities.