Chamber of Pharmacy urges gov’t to reconsider decision to remove benchmark on pharmaceutical products

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The Chamber of Pharmacy has urged the government to reconsider its decision of removing the 50 per cent benchmark on pharmaceutical products.

The removal of the 50% Benchmark Values on 32 categories of items at the ports took effect on Monday, November 15, following an announcement by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) in a letter forwarded to the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta, signed by the Commissioner-General,  Rev. Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah, an indication that all items under the 32 categories currently enjoying port clearing discounts, will no longer enjoy that special dispensation.

The GRA said that the move is informed by an agreement reached with the business community to, as it were, generate more revenue.

In a press release signed by the Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber of Pharmacy, Anthony Ameka, said “The affordability, accessibility, and improvement of patients care are the overriding objectives of the current benchmark policy for pharmaceutical products. The state loses on the removal of benchmark and the increase of final retail price it pays for medicines under the NHIA.”

“Therefore, the Ghana National Chamber of Pharmacy urges the government to reconsider its decision of removing the benchmark on pharmaceutical products”, the group’s statement added.

“The local manufacturing sector provides 30% of the medicine needs in the country with 70% of medicines imported. The removal of the benchmark on the pharmaceutical products will lead to the increase of prices of medicines and other medical supplies.

The impact will result in the high-cost of healthcare delivery with its attendant cost implications on the NHIS medicines bill,” the statement noted.

“the state loses on the removal of benchmark and the increase of final retail price it pays for medicines under the NHIA. Currently, the state is benefitting from the benchmarking policy and as a result is able to pay health facilities through NHIA. This situation turns out to improve the cash cycle of the private sector (importers) to integrate backward faster and expand their operation, resulting in job creation for the State.”

By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana