Ghanaians could find themselves in cash-and-carry situations at health facilities because of Ghana’s forex challenges, Dr. Kwame Sarpong-Asiedu, a research fellow with CDD-Ghana, has warned.
Because the pharmaceutical sector is heavily reliant on imports, Dr. Sarpong-Asiedu noted that the National Health Insurance Scheme will struggle to settle claims if it reviews its formula.
The cedi has been singled out as the worst-performing currency and is selling at a little over GHS11 to the dollar.
At the moment, the NHIS is relying on inflows which are not indexed to the dollar.
It is thus using a dated reimbursement formula to pay pharmacies and hospitals.
“Their prices are not representative of the current market prices. In fact, they are about 35 percent behind the current market prices,” Dr. Sarpong-Asiedu said.
He added that reviewing the formula could see the “rude awakening” of the drug bill going up exponentially.
He expects this to result in delays in settling debts to hospitals and pharmacies
“We might ourselves in a situation where cash-and-carry returns because the whole sellers will not be in a position to give credit on a long-term basis.”
The Executive Secretary of the West Africa Manufacturers association, Lucia Addai, said there could be an almost 1,000 percent increase in pharmaceuticals.
She cited the cost of utilities, the cost of freight and the forex challenges as the main contributing factors to price rises in medication.
“Generally if a medication was costing a dollar, because of all the factors I have mentioned, it could probably cost maybe 10 dollars or more,” Mrs. Addai said.