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  • From the President's Desk - July 2017
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    JULY 2017

    Dear Colleague,

    We are in July, 2017 and barely a month to our 2017 Annual General Meeting and Conference. As always, it is a joy to update you on latest developments since the last month. It is a great pleasure to update you on our courtesy calls, especially our visit to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. We also paid courtesy calls on Dr. Anthony Nsiah-Asare, the Director General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) and the Deputy CEO of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), Pharm. Mrs. Yaa Pokua Baiden.

    Visit to the President of Ghana

    The Standing Executive Committee (SEC) of the PSGH, Executives of GHOSPA, Chief Pharmacist/Director of Pharmaceutical Services of the Ministry of Health and the CEO of FDA paid a courtesy call on His Excellency, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo at the Flagstaff House on Wednesday, 21st June, 2017. The meeting was attended by the Hon. Minister for Health, Hon. Kwaku Agyemang-Manu and Nana Asante Bediatuo, Executive Secretary to the President as well as other officials of the Flagstaff House. The courtesy call was to congratulate the President on his election and assure him of the support of the PSGH and pharmacists and also help in achieving his developmental agenda for the pharmaceutical sector and the nation as a whole. The PSGH took the opportunity to raise some key issues of concern to pharmacists namely:

    • GHOSPA challenges with the migration unto the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS)
    • Outstanding indebtedness and delayed reimbursement of NHIS service providers
    • Support for local manufacture of pharmaceuticals
    • The need to continue restricting pharmaceutical retailing to Ghanaian citizens only

     

    GHOSPA CHALLENGES WITH THE MIGRATION UNTO THE SINGLE SPINE SALARY STRUCTURE (SSSS)

    The PSGH informed the President that members of the Government and Hospital Pharmacists Association (GHOSPA) have had long standing challenges concerning their migration unto the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS). Contrary to the assertion that the SSSS would not make any group worse off, members of GHOSPA were made worse off after migration unto the SSSS. Their migration which was done unilaterally did not take into consideration the established relativities between the various professional groups within the health sector. The challenges of GHOSPA discussed were three-fold:

    1.       GRADE STRUCTURE

    2.       INTERIM MARKET PREMIUM

    3.       CODIFIED CONDITIONS OF SERVICE

     

    OUTSTANDING INDEBTEDNESS AND DELAYED REIMBURSEMENT BY NHIA TO NHIS SERVICE PROVIDERS

    The PSGH informed the President that non-payment of outstanding indebtedness to service providers of more than 1.2 billion Ghana Cedis was adversely affecting suppliers, especially pharmaceutical suppliers (local manufacturers and importers) since about half of reimbursements by the NHIS is for medicines. This, if not addressed would lead to the inability of hospitals, clinics and pharmaceutical service providers to continue to supply medicines to clients as they may be unable to pay the pharmaceutical wholesalers. This may in turn affect the willingness of pharmaceutical suppliers/wholesalers to continue to supply medicines to the NHIS Service Providers. This chain of events will ultimately affect the sustainability and efficiency of the scheme which may negatively affect the image of the NHIS.

    It is the view of the PSGH that a bailout should be sought as soon as possible to settle all the outstanding indebtedness of the NHIS whilst the NHIA study the recommendations of the technical committee for its implementation.

     

    SUPPORT FOR LOCAL MANUFACTURE OF PHARMACEUTICALS

    The PSGH told the President that Ghana had about thirty eight (38) pharmaceutical manufacturing industries which manufacture quality pharmaceuticals for both the domestic and West African market. Currently, about 70% of medicines are imported and if given the needed support, local pharmaceutical manufacturers could further decrease the amount of medicines imported annually. This could generate more employment and retain foreign exchange. The PSGH was of the view that with the needed support, Ghana could become the India of Africa with regards to the manufacture of medicines.

     The PSGH applauded the government for the restriction of forty nine (49) medicines from importation. This would further help in the development and improvement of technical capacity for manufacturing more medicines locally. The PSGH appealed to the President and the government for financial support to local pharmaceutical manufacturers for infrastructural and technical requirements to meet WHO prequalification so they could produce medicines that could compete with the best global pharmaceutical giants. This would attract contract manufacturing and help in job creation and boost Ghana’s economy. The PSGH also highlighted the need for the establishment of a national bioequivalence centre and national chemical laboratory to help the local manufacture of generic medicines with the highest quality to meet global standards.

     

    NEED TO CONTINUE RESTRICTION OF RETAILING OF PHARMACEUTICALS TO GHANAIAN CITIZENS ONLY

    The PSGH informed the President that the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) ACT, 2013 (ACT 865) in Section 27 (f) reserves the retail of finished pharmaceutical products to Ghanaians and wholly owned Ghanaian companies. The Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana (PSGH) was aware that stakeholder engagements have begun by the GIPC to revise some parts of the law including section 27. The PSGH impressed upon the President and government to allow the status quo on restriction on retail of finished pharmaceutical products reserved for Ghanaians and wholly owned Ghanaian companies to continue. The PSGH was of the view that opening up the retail of finished pharmaceutical products to foreign companies may lead to influx of foreign chains of pharmacies who will push the small indigenous community pharmacies out of the health service they offer and repatriate their profits as well as bring in medicines manufactured outside the country which may be inimical to the manufacture of pharmaceuticals locally.

     

    Visit to Director General of GHS

    The PSGH President and the Executive Secretary in the company of the GHOSPA Executives and the Chief Pharmacist and Director of Pharmaceutical Services paid a courtesy call on Dr. Anthony Nsiah-Asare, the Director General of the Ghana Health Service on Thursday, 29th June, 2017 at his office. The courtesy call was to welcome him to the position and assure him of PSGH support. The PSGH took the opportunity to discuss the following:

     

    1.       GHOSPA’s migration unto the Single Spine Salary Structure.

    2.       Pharmacist on the Ghana Health Service Council

    3.       Employment of Pharmacists by the Ministry of Health and Ghana Health Service

    4.       Proposed Framework Contracting under the Supply Chain Master Plan

    Visit Deputy CEO (HR and Administration) of NHIS

    The PSGH President and the Executive Secretary paid a courtesy call on Pharm. Mrs. Yaa Pokua Baiden who was appointed as the Deputy Chief Executive Human Resource and Administration of the NHIA. The courtesy call was to congratulate Mrs. Baiden, who also serves as the Chairperson of the Western Regional Branch of the PSGH and a member of the Governing Board of the PSGH. The visit was also to offer the support of the PSGH to her in her new role to help the NHIA in the management of the NHIS for efficiency and sustainability. Through this visit, we advocated for the use of her good offices to facilitate prompt reimbursement of claims to service providers.

     

    2017 AGM/Conference

    Final preparations are currently ongoing for the 2017 AGM/Conference scheduled for the Garden City from 1st to 6th August, 2017.  I urge all of you to go online (psgh.org) to register for the conference. I want to remind all those interested in contesting for positions in the PSGH to complete their nomination forms and submit them, whilst taking due cognizant of the requirements for the nomination. Please read through the nomination form carefully as well as the requirements for nominations as per the PSGH Constitution. NOMINATIONS will end by close of day Friday, 7th July, 2017.

    I hope to see all of you in Kumasi where a royal welcome awaits you.

    Thank You.

     

    Thomas Boateng Appiagyei, FPSGH

    President