Dr Maxwell Antwi, Country Director of PharmAccess, has charged stakeholders with the pharmaceutical industry to address the fake medicine menace in Ghana because a quarter of the total medicines sold in the country are either fake or substandard.
He said, the effects of these substandard drugs have had a toll on the African continent, as 100,000 lives have been lost.
“Do we know that the fake medicines market is worth over €400 billion, which is more profitable than narcotics? Do we know that 100,000 deaths happen on the African continent due to fake and substandard medicine?” he quizzed.
Dr Maxwell Antwi made this known at the launch of access to financing for CHAG facilities on the Med4all platform in Accra.
He said, Ghana’s medicine market faces multiple complex challenges because there are issues of inventory management, forecasting, the value change is fragmented, payment to medicine suppliers are rarely on time and lack of quality service control.
These challenges, Dr Antwi said, has led to the frequent stock-out, poor quality and high prices of medicines in the market.
“The price of penicillin in Ghana is seven times that on the NHS in the UK. While this has negative implications for healthcare facilities and legitimate pharmaceutical manufacturers and suppliers, it is the patients in Ghana who pay the ultimate price,” he noted.
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Dr Maxwell Antwi further revealed a study carried out in Kintampo of the Bono East Region showed that four out of ten medicines sold in the town are either fake or substandard.
“Another study on anti-malaria in Ghana showed that 13 out of 14 tested antimycin-based anti-malaria contain either an overdose or another dose,” he added.
He said, due to Ghana’s low credibility rate of fake and substandard medicines, the United Nations has been forced to shoot a documentary of fake and substandard medicine in Ghana.
Through this data, Dr Antwi said, CHAG and PharmAccess have been able to put in place some mechanisms to deal with fake and substandard medicines in the country through Med4all platforms.
He explained the facilities on the Med4all platform were not of equal sizes so based on the consumption forecast for medicine, all of them could access quarterly consumption of medicines and the value of it at no interest.
“We have also mentioned the issue of equity because we want to drive it in such a way that people do not over order… To ensure that everybody has a piece of the cake we would stick with the quarterly consumption that the providers or health facilities need and this would be revolved every quarter.”