Ministry of Health denies abandoning antiretroviral drugs at ports
The Ministry of Health has denied claims that donated antiretroviral drugs have been abandoned at ports since July due to the government's failure to waive taxes.
In a statement released on Saturday, the Ministry said that the headlines suggesting this were misleading and did not accurately reflect the truth.
The Ministry said that the Ghana Supply Commission had effectively managed the clearance of antiretroviral drugs and other medical items at the ports on behalf of the Ministry of Health for many years. It said that the necessary waivers for the clearance of this batch of drugs were issued on time.
However, the Ministry said that the volumes in this batch had been high, requiring extra resources. It said that it had brought this to the attention of the commission and that steps had been taken to secure the needed extra funds to ensure clearance by Friday, October 13, 2023.
The Ministry also stated that currently, four per cent of persons living with HIV/AIDS in Ghana relied on these specific medications. It said that drugs for the remaining 96% were well supplied and that even for the four per cent, there were viable alternative medications available in public health facilities.
The Ministry urged the public to disregard the erroneous and misleading headlines, and said that it remained steadfast in its commitment to safeguarding the health of all citizens and would continue to ensure the availability of essential healthcare resources.
The Ministry's statement comes after some media outlets reported that donated antiretroviral drugs had been abandoned at ports since July due to the government's failure to waive taxes. These reports sparked concerns among HIV/AIDS patients and advocates, as they feared that the delay in clearing the drugs could lead to a shortage of essential medications.
The Member of Parliament for Juaboso, Kwabena Mintah Akandoh urged the Ministry of Finance to consider tax exemption for antiretroviral drugs, consumables and other medical equipment that were currently stuck at the ports.