Vice-President launches e-Pharmacy platform

BY: Rebecca Quaicoe Duho & Faith Ayorkor Mensah
Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia (right) interacting with Mr Kwabena Ofei Asante (middle), Chairman of the National Electronic Pharmacy Advisory Committee, and Mr Daniel Amaning Danquah, Deputy Registrar, Operations, of the Pharmacy Council. Picture: GABRIEL AHIABOR
Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia (right) interacting with Mr Kwabena Ofei Asante (middle), Chairman of the National Electronic Pharmacy Advisory Committee, and Mr Daniel Amaning Danquah, Deputy Registrar, Operations, of the Pharmacy Council. Picture: GABRIEL AHIABOR

The Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, yesterday launched an electronic Pharmacy (e-Pharmacy) policy and guideline for the dispensing of drugs in the country.

The policy, which will be rolled out in March next year, will have a direct link with the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) to address the proliferation of fake drugs.

It will also facilitate the reduction of the pharmacist-to-patient ratio, improve confidentiality and privacy of patient medical records, minimise wrong self-diagnosis and self-medication and reduce counterfeit and substandard medication.

According to the Vice-President, Ghana’s current pharmacist-to-patient ratio was 1:10,000, which is five times higher than the World Health Organisation’s (WHO’s) 1:2,000.

He said the introduction of the platform would lessen healthcare provider dependency, since subscribers would now be able to access vital health information with the help of a pharmacist, without necessarily going to a pharmacy.

Dr Bawumia described the e-Pharmacy as a game changer that would tackle infrastructure development in the health sector.

“We are not there yet, but our progress so far is not to be taken for granted, and we intend to entrench further our vision of making the single largest investment in Ghana’s health sector,’’ he said.

“The innovations in our national health insurance system, the deepening of the training of our human resource and recruitment of health personnel, the One Constituency, One Ambulance programme, the use of drones in the delivery of drugs and the innovations in institutional digital framework in the health sector are all major steps to achieving our goals,” he added.

Pharmacy Council

The Registrar of the Pharmacy Council, Dr Audu Rauf, said the mandate of the council was to secure and guarantee the highest standards of health care by ensuring that pharmaceutical facilities were evenly distributed across the country to improve access.

"Notwithstanding the fact that the strategies have chalked up some successes in terms of distribution, more needs to be done, as a large proportion of our population remains under-served," he said.

Dr Rauf described the e-Pharmacy platform as crucial to ensuring clinical quality, efficiency and safety in the Universal Health Coverage (UHC)-oriented medicine benefit schemes.

He said it would also enable access to rural areas where there were limited retail pharmacies and called on all stakeholders to strengthen their resolve to make the policy work.

For his part, the Deputy Registrar, Operations, of the Pharmacy Council, Dr Daniel Amaning Danquah, said all e-Pharmacies were to register with the Data Protection Agency, in accordance with the Data Protection Act, 2012, Act 843, after which they would be validated before they could be granted access to the platform.