Dr Maxwell Antwi, Country Director, PharmAccess Ghana, has disclosed a recent study in Kintampo, a town in the Bono East Region of Ghana, revealed that four out of ten medicines sold in Kintampo were either fake or substandard.
According to the medical practitioner, another study also shows that, thirteen out of fourteen tested antimalaria drugs that are sold to malaria patients contained either “overdose or another dose”.
“A study recently conducted at Kintampo showed that four out of ten medicines in that region were either fake or substandard,” Dr Maxwell Antwi noted, adding, “Another study on anti-malaria in Ghana showed that thirteen out of fourteen tested antimycins-based anti-malaria contain either an overdose or another dose.”
Dr Antwi has hinted that about 30% of medicines sold in Ghana is either fake or substandard.
This, he said, has made Ghana’s medicine market face multiple complex challenges because [with] the market, 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 due to post-market surveillance.
Speaking at the launch of access to financing for CHAG facilities on the Med4all platform in Accra, Dr Maxwell Antwi made it known that these challenges lead to 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.
“An estimated 30% of medicines in Ghana are fake or substandard leading to treatment failures, negative side effects, antimicrobial resistances and spread of diseases and unnecessary deaths,” he said.
Dr Maxwell Antwi observed, even though data on fake medicine is global, but in Ghana, it is overwhelming.
“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 Africa continent due to fake and substandard medicines?” he quizzed.
Dr Maxwell Antwi said the EU compiled a league of countries with the highest burden of fake medicines and Ghana was on number six.