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Inconsistencies in Medicine Prices Collapsing NHIS-Health Minister

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The Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu has called on the Stakeholders involved in the procurement of medicines to have a clean and consistent Transaction Price Database.

According to him, this is needed to help sustain the supply chain and ensure that those involved in the allocation of medicines make informed decisions and find ways of significantly controlling the prices of medicines on the market.

In an address at the launch of the 7th Edition of the Standard Treatment Guidelines (STG) and Essential Medicine List (EML) in Accra, he said the inconsistencies in medicine prices have led to issues of fraud in health insurance claims, thus making the future of the National Health Insurance bleak.

“We do not have a history of the price data and so anybody procures at any price…I am talking about transaction database because, Ghana is on record to be one of the countries that have very expensive medicines on the market. Why should that be so?” Mr Agyeman-Manu asked.

The minister continued: “We need to begin to make our systems efficient and also strengthen what we can call our supply chain… so that we do not kill the social protection programme that politicians have left for this country.”

Mr Agyeman-Manu disclosed that he is yet to submit to parliament a medicine policy expected to deal with prescription abuses which have become the tool for fraudulent claims for NHIA.

STG and EML

The availability of the guidelines and medicine list is to effectively empower health professionals to use medicines responsibly.

It is also to assist them make decisions on appropriate health care choices as well as the specific clinical services to administer.

Chairman for the STG Review Committee, Professor Francis Ofei, “The STG provides information for prevention, diagnosis and treatment of common diseases seen in our health facilities and it is aimed at all levels of health care both in the private and public systems of Ghana.”

He therefore requested health workers to adhere to the guidelines and added that those who do not observe the ethical standards would be sanctioned.

The STG and EML documents would further facilitate the reimbursement of National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA).

It would be reviewed biennially to ensure that obsolete and inefficient drugs are taken off the list.

How to get copies

Members of the public are advised to get copies so that they can be well informed about drugs prescribed to them.

Free copies of the documents were offered to those who attended the launch however, copies will be sold at GHȻ50 at any of the Ghana Health Service Offices.

STG and ELM are also available in e-copy which could be accessed on the official  websites of the Ministry of Health (MOH).

Source: Grace Ablewor Sogbey/ ksogbey@gmail.com

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