(2009; 36 pages)
Main pharmaceutical policy goals in Ghana are access to essential medicines for everybody, quality assurance for all drugs on the market, a functioning and efficient supply chain as well as rational use of medicines by professionals and patients. There is also a commitment to strengthen the domestic pharmaceutical industry, outlined under health industry in the national health policy.
Key challenges are limited capacity to enforce regulation, high levels of provider indebtedness due to poor management and flaws in the payment system, a weak public sector supply chain that is increasingly being substituted by the private sector and a fragmented national private sector (manufacturing and distribution), lacking capital to make necessary investments into quality improvements.
The National Health Insurance System has significantly improved access to medicines for insured patients, measured in increased utilization of facilities and rapidly growing turnover of revolving drug funds. The risk is now that non-rational prescribing and fraud lead to a growing medicine bill that threatens financial sustainability of NHIS. On the other hand, NHIA has the resources and purchasing power to influence provider behavior as well as the market in terms of quality and price.
The incoming government will have to address the challenge of coordinating the various actors and ensure that they work together to develop, review and implement appropriate policies to address the above challenges.
Policy options presented for key areas include limited but efficient regulatory measures with focus on high risk products, solutions to fix the supply chain with different degrees of private sector participation, thoughts on a sustainable industrial policy for the sector, solutions to limit NHIS’ drug expenditure and measures to improve rational use of drugs.