Local pharmaceutical manufacturers say their inability to receive payments for supplies made to health facilities, regional medical stores and other service providers is a result of the lack of transparency on the part of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA).
The over 50 manufacturers comprising the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Association of Ghana, (MPAG) and the Chamber of Pharmacy say they have provided drugs on credit to the tune of GHS100,000 within a five-year period but have received no payment for the products.
They are thus calling on the NHIA to come clean on payments made to various health facilities across the country to enable them to recover their debts.
Although the NHIA has on a number of occasions announced monies paid to these health facilities for onward payments to them, MPAG insists NHIA’s failure to provide details of the institutions it has paid is hampering efforts to retrieve its own share of the money.
Executive Secretary of the Association, Lucia Addae who spoke on the Citi Breakfast Show said the current situation is negatively affecting their work.
“The challenge here is that even though we have heard statements from the NHIA, there have been some payments, but because there is no transparency in who is getting the money and how much, the facilities are really not releasing the money to us. Some of the regional medical stores are also bankrupt and do not have money even to the extent that even without their money in full, they will not be able to pay us. So we want some of these issues to be addressed as to whether they should be recapitalized or there should be some payment plan and negotiation. We want the way forward because this is affecting our business.”
“If NHIA is transparent enough to tell everybody how much they are paying and to which facilities they are paying to, then it will be easier for everybody. NHIA is not telling us who they are paying to and how much they are paying. We don’t know who they are paying so if you go to the facilities they say they haven’t received the money. So in as much as we say the Ministry of Health and NHIA are doing a fantastic job of paying the money, our members are not receiving the money”, she added.
This is not the first time the Pharmaceuticals Manufacturers Association of Ghana and the Chamber of Pharmacy Ghana have called on the government to ensure that monies owed their members by NHIA-accredited health facilities are paid immediately.
Last week, the two suppliers withdrew credit supplies to regional medical stores and the health facilities across the country that are not in good financial standing with it.
This, according to the Chamber was targeted at clients who have failed to honour their debts since December 2019.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Chamber of Pharmacy, Anthony Ameka said the situation affected the operations of its members.
Some time ago, we said we were not going to provide drugs on credit to any institution. The Ministry of Health came in and based on that, we have agreed to give some form of credit to some selected health facilities like those owing the chamber for like six months. We are told the NHIA has been able to pay up until December. So any institutions that are owing us, we will not be able to give credit to such institution again. The most culprits among all the institutions are the regional medical stores. This has led to the loss of jobs As a result, we were not able to pay for imports or manufactured sum of the drug,” he added.