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PRESS STATEMENT BY THE PHARMACEUTICAL SOCIETY OF GHANA (PSGH) TO MARK 2019 WORLD PHARMACISTS DAY

Tuesday, 24 September 2019   (0 Comments)
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September 25, 2019

PRESS STATEMENT BY THE PHARMACEUTICAL SOCIETY OF GHANA (PSGH) TO MARK 2019 WORLD PHARMACISTS DAY

Wednesday, 25th September 2019 is World Pharmacists Day. The Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana (PSGH) joins the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) and the Ministry of Health (MOH), Ghana to celebrate this very important day.

As designated in 2009 by the FIP Council in Istanbul, Turkey, 25th September is recognized and celebrated annually as World Pharmacists Day. Globally, Pharmacists use this day to organise activities that promote and advocate for the role of the Pharmacist in improving health in every corner of the world. The theme for the 2019 World Pharmacists Day is “Safe and effective medicines for all”.

The PSGH agrees with the FIP and affirms the crucial role that Pharmacists play in safeguarding patient safety through improving medicines use and reducing medication errors. Pharmacists use their broad knowledge and unique expertise to ensure that people get the best from their medicines. We ensure access to medicines and their appropriate use, improve adherence, coordinate care transitions and so much more. Today, more than ever, Pharmacists are charged with the responsibility to ensure that when a patient uses a medicine, it will not cause harm.

On this World Pharmacists Day, the PSGH seizes the opportunity to discuss:

·      Making medicines available and accessible to the citizenry,

·      Dispensing of medicines by qualified and competent professionals,

·      Rational Use of Medicines and reporting of adverse drug reactions.

with the overarching goal of ensuring safe and effective medicines for all Ghanaians. Pharmacists in Ghana are ready to partner with Government, stakeholders in the healthcare space and the general public to live out the theme of this year’s World Pharmacists Day.

Making medicines available and accessible to the citizenry

To ensure the long-term security of making medicines available and accessible to Ghanaians, there is the need to strategically invest in the local pharmaceutical manufacturing space. We live in a competitive market where every business is allowed to thrive; however, we recognize the need for Government to continue a deliberate national policy to promote local manufacturing of pharmaceuticals. While lauding Government’s policy of restricting 49 drugs from importation and reserving same for local manufacturing, we also acknowledge that local pharmaceutical manufacturers have done well with this initiative and have produced products that meet global standards.  We hold that there are still a wide range of medicines which are imported regardless of the manufacturing prowess of the local manufacturing companies and as such require an expansion of the list.

We urge Government to consider expanding the list to other molecules and some essential medicines with particular emphasis on generic medicines for which more than 5 local manufacturers have the capacity to produce. We hold that these restrictions will increase the market size for local manufacturers, improve local manufacturing capability and capacity, and reduce the exchange rate pressure on the local currency and protect domestic health and safety.

Dispensing of medicines by qualified and competent professionals

Over the years, several countries have identified the critical role that pharmacists play in the attainment of Universal Health Care. One reform that is increasingly gaining attention is the incorporation of Community Pharmacists within the broader healthcare system. Community pharmacists have the potential to not only contribute to improving patients’ outcomes through safe and effective use of drugs, but also to reduce the cost of healthcare by resolving medicines-related problems and promoting public health issues. In the hospital setting, the Pharmacist is appropriately placed to address drug-drug interactions and dosing challenges.

Despite the overwhelming evidence of the community pharmacy as the first point of call for many persons seeking healthcare in Ghana, the health sector has not recognized the community pharmacy as contributing to the overall primary healthcare delivery of the country. Pharmacists are the most qualified and competently placed professionals to ensure effective dispensing of medicines in all healthcare facilities. We call on Government to ensure that wherever medicines need to be dispensed, a pharmacist is on hand to discharge and/or supervise the discharge of such activity. Furthermore, we urge Government, the Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service (GHS) to include community pharmacies in its official planning in data gathering including national data for District Health Information Systems about health and outcomes, promoting the screening for non-communicable diseases and the provision of immunization services.

Additionally, despite the recognition of separation of prescribing and dispensing services in the national medicines policy as a critical policy tool to shape medicines use and the overwhelming evidence about the gains for countries that have implemented this policy, stakeholders are yet to earnestly consider this approach as one of the critical factors that could impact on the savings of the NHIS. We urge government and the NHIA to zealously pursue the separation of services in healthcare (including prescribing, dispensing, laboratory services etc.) to minimize fraudulent claims, remove incentives associated with prescribing and reduce cost to patients, the healthcare system and government.

 

Rational Use of Medicines and Reporting of Adverse Drug Events

Rational use of medicines requires that "patients receive medications appropriate to their clinical needs, in doses that meet their own individual requirements, for an adequate period of time, and at the lowest cost to them and their community".

We call on all Ghanaians to take responsibility for their health by insisting that issues relating to the use of medicines are addressed by the Pharmacist. Furthermore, medicines must be sought for and purchased from only recognized outlets (which are Pharmacy and OTCMS facilities).

 

As we celebrate the 2019 World Pharmacists Day, the PSGH would like to draw the attention of the general public to the fact that Pharmacists, working in concert with relevant stakeholders, pledge to guarantee Safe and effective medicines for all.

The PSGH is ready to partner with Government to build and strengthen the capacity of the local pharmaceutical manufacturing industry to ensure that safe and effective medicines are made available and accessible to all Ghanaians.

 

Thank you.

 

Pharm. Benjamin K. Botwe,
PRESIDENT
020-816209; 020-6713700