Assessment of Pharmaceutical Wholesale Market in Ghana. An Incentive Survey. MeTA Ghana
(2010; 35 pages)


The pharmaceutical sector in Ghana comprises of public and private interests. The hub of the pharmaceutical wholesale market is clustered around the Accra suburb of Okashie. Pharmaceutical wholesalers in this suburb supply medicines and other pharmaceutical products to over 1,000 registered pharmacies and over 7,000 chemical sellers operating in small towns and villages across the country. The private sector wholesale market is often to be an important player in the sector. However, its role and functions beyond narrow commercial interests are not well known. The private sector wholesalers are clearly an important part of the supply chain from the pharmaceutical producers to the ultimate consumers of drugs and other pharmaceutical products. Given the considerable gap in the knowledge of the critical role played by private wholesaler, MeTA has commissioned a study to examine pharmaceutical wholesalers‟ incentives to engage in responsible business practices which include assurance of quality of medicines and enhanced transparency dealing with their operations. This component of the study deals with a description of the structure of pharmaceutical wholesale market in Ghana. The rest of this report is organized as follows: the next section deals with the description of the type and composition of pharmaceutical wholesalers. This is followed by a discussion of the customer base of the wholesalers. This is followed by an overview of the survey, analysis, interpretation of results, recommendations and conclusion.

The survey employed key informant interviews to generate qualitative data. A questionnaire based on the five main study areas was used to collect data. The data were qualitative in nature and were analyzed using descriptive statistics. The results of the analysis show that wholesalers have a strong incentive to trade in registered medicines, maintain good storage practices, implement best procurement practices, improve efficiency in inventory management, maintain responsible financial practices, maintain good corporate image and select medicines that give better public health outcomes. However, the analysis also shows that wholesalers have weak incentives to conduct quality testing of medicines, provide regional distribution points to improve access, implement a scheduled delivery system, decrease the prices of medicines or markups on medicines, maintain environmental safety standards and select medicines with greater public health need. This study concludes that pharmaceutical wholesalers have a strong incentive to engage in responsible business practices, where these are consistent with their commercial interests. However, they would rather count on others to assure the quality of, and supply information about, the medicines they supply. Further, wholesalers have weak incentives to improve geographical access in areas where sales volumes are likely to be relatively low.

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