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Economic crisis: Medicine suppliers return to cash and carry  



Medicines, suppliers, Newscenta, cash and carry, payment,

Some pharmaceutical groups in Ghana have called on authorities of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and the Private Health Insurance companies to give all accredited pharma facilities seed funds to purchase medicine in cash for supplies to patients under the scheme.

They noted that until the economy stabilises, all transactions with immediate effect must be on a cash basis rather than the previous credit-based method of payment.

The pharmaceutical groups include; Ghana National Chamber of Pharmacy (The Chamber), Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association of Ghana (PMAG), and Pharmaceutical Importers and Wholesalers Association of Ghana (PIWA).

President of PIWA, William Adum Addo, said developments at the macro-economic level and their impact on pharmaceutical products and services require drastic decisions to be taken to save the industry.

He mentioned payment terms, fuel prices, inflation, exchange rate, utilities, and reversal of benchmark values as the leading indicators affecting the smooth running of the pharmaceutical business.


Payment terms

In terms of payment, he said that the pharmaceutical industry is credit-driven as such delayed payments and the presence of depreciating cedi have led to the erosion of operational capital for importers and manufacturers.

“Public sector pays on the average of six to 12 months because of delayed payment from the NHIS and most private sector facilities also make payment for supplies within three to four months. This is affecting our operation,” Mr Addo explained.


The President of PIWA said with the current rate of inflation standing at 37.2%, there is an increase in the cost of goods and services thus affecting the essential accessories and other inputs needed for pharmaceutical operations.


Fuel Prices

Mr Addo further noted that the cumulative fuel prices increasing from the beginning of the year till date which stands at 71% affects transport costs and increases the cost of operations.

Exchange rate

He noted that the rise of the dollar from GHȻ5.80 to GHȻ13.90 is causing importers of finished pharmaceutical products who manufacture inputs and equipment for pharma operations to need more cedis for their operations.

“This confirms a ravaging nature of the cedi devaluation and its direct impact on pharmaceutical operations,” he stressed.



The President of PIWA added that electricity and water remain indispensable in the conduct of pharmaceutical business; as such the cost increase by 27% and 21% respectively, affects the cost of doing business highly.

Interest rate

He explained that interest rates on loans acquired to finance pharmaceutical operations had escalated from 27% to 32% and default in payment attracts an extra 5% penalty rate.

“The delay in payment affects the liquidity and ability to service loans with the consequence of likelihood to default in loan payment affect our operations,” he said.


Reversal of benchmark values

Mr Addo noted that the reversal of discounts on benchmark values has negatively impacted the cost of doing pharmaceutical business in Ghana as importers of finished pharmaceutical products are made to pay 70% of applicable taxes on medicines.

Indicators affecting prices

The pharmaceutical groups noted that all the indicators mentioned above affect prices of general goods and services, as such the effect on pharmaceutical prices will not only result in challenges with medicine availability and accessibility but the quality of life of Ghanaians.

They called for immediate action to save the industry.


Call for action

“There should be no credit policy for all buyers so we can sustain the industry,” they stressed.

A joint press statement issued by the pharmaceutical groups called on the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MOFEP) to release funds immediately to pay for the longstanding debt -nine months and to push to clear all overdue debts.

They emphasised that all end-user institutions including retail pharmacies, private hospitals and clinics must secure loans from banks to buy medicines in cash.

“We pay all statutory taxes to the government in cash, why must you buy on a credit basis,” they said.


The groups called on the Ministry of Health, the Ghana Health Service and the NHIS to discuss possible financial reengineering to save pharmaceutical businesses from imminent collapse.




Measles, Polio and other childhood vaccines dispatched to regions



Childhood vaccines, Newscenta, Polio, Measles, Ministry of Health, Regions,

The Ministry of Health (MoH) and the Ghana Health Service (GHS) have received the first consignment of Measles vaccines, Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) vaccines and Oral Polio Vaccines.

The Ministry of Information in a statement said distribution to various regions and facilities was underway.

It noted that more vaccines are expected in Ghana in the coming weeks from multiple sources.

“More vaccines expected in Ghana in the coming weeks from multiple sources,” the Information Ministry added.

It shared pictures of the GHS receiving the vaccines at the airport noting that they have already begun distributing them to various regions and facilities.


The ministry also shared photos of regional cold vans picking their consignments of the Measles, BCG and Oral Polio vaccines received and its accompanying logistics at the National Cold Room in Accra.

Ghana ran out of essential BCG and OPV vaccines as a result of the Ministry of Health’s failure to secure procurement of these vaccines since the year began.

The BCG vaccine is primarily needed to prevent the occurrence of tuberculosis in babies, while the OPV is to prevent polio infections

Other essential vaccines to prevent diseases such as measles, whooping cough, etc. are also in short supply.

Answering to parliament on the shortages, Health Minister Kwaku Agyeman Manu said that more than $6 million has been paid to United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to deliver baby vaccines.


According to him, the government expects the shortage to end in the next three weeks when all the vaccines are delivered.

Whilst urging the Legislators to approve funds needed for vaccines, he assured that shortages will not reoccur

“The assurance I will give and I can give for the first time in the Chamber is that this will not happen again and I will advise that you help me in my advocacy to get adequate funding for vaccines even the health insurance budget,” he appealed.

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No measles deaths in 20yrs, vaccines arriving soon  



Vaccines, Newscenta, measles, BCG, polio, immunisation,

The Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, has assured parents of children who are yet to receive their scheduled vaccines due to the vaccine shortage currently being experienced in the country that the country will take delivery of these vaccines in the next few weeks.

He gave this assurance at an emergency press briefing organised to address the raging issue which has seen many worried parents moving from facility to facility in a desperate search for the crucial vaccines.

The Minister in his address stated that the nation is currently facing a shortage of some vaccines.

He said, “it is true we have had some vaccine shortages in the country since the last quarter of 2022. The vaccines in short supply are BCG, Measles-Rubella (MR), and Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV). This shortage is nationwide.”

Agyemang-Manu however assured that  “the Ministry of Health has been making efforts to ensure we secure adequate stocks of vaccines despite this global challenge.”


He went further to state that, “we have made all necessary efforts to ensure that despite these challenges we secure adequate stocks within the next few weeks.”

He disclosed that the country has not recorded deaths caused by measles outbreak in parts of the country.

The Health Minister indicated that there had been no recorded measles-related deaths in the country in the last 20 years, even though there have been sporadic outbreaks.

He further indicated that besides the shortage of vaccines, there had been a global decline in vaccinations with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in late 2019.

He said, “the recent shortage in vaccines for measles, as regrettable as it is, is symptomatic of the steady global decline in measles vaccination since the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic.”


Agyemang-Manu however assures the citizenry that the nation’s vaccination coverage remains robust, with immunization performance coverage being among the best in the world.

According to him, “in 2021 we recorded 95% [vaccine] coverage.”

In recent months there has been a desperate scramble among worried parents of toddlers over the apparent shortage of vaccines for the six childhood killer diseases in the nation’s pharmacies and hospitals.

This coupled with an outbreak of the measles-rubella virus has left parents worrying about the safety of their children.


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Ghana: Zipline delivers 14.8m lifesaving medical products



Zipline, drones, Newscenta, 14.8m deliveries, 2022, medical products,

Zipline, the world’s first and only national-scale drone delivery service has delivered some 14.8 million (14,809,463) units of lifesaving medical, vaccines and blood products to health facilities in Ghana as at the end of 2022

309,000 delivery flights

These items were delivered through 309,000 separate delivery flights.

4.4m units delivered

The total units delivered amounted to 4.4 million.


8.3m doses of childhood vaccines

Childhood vaccines top the list with the delivery of 8.3 million doses.

2.05m doses of COVID-19 vaccines

It is followed by COVID-19 vaccines which recorded 2.05 million doses.

48,588 doses of malaria vaccines


The company delivered 48,588 doses of malaria vaccines during the period

10,875 pints of blood

Some 10,875 blood units were also delivered during the period.

Zipline, drones, Newscenta, 14.8m deliveries, 2022, medical products,

6 Zipline distribution centers

The six  Zipline distribution centers delivers lifesaving medical, vaccines and blood products to over 2,500 health facilities.


Zipline introduced in April 2019

Ghana integrated Zipline’s medical drone delivery service into its health supply chain in April 2019 with an initial support from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the UPS Foundation and other partners.

Instant access to health commodities

Zipline enables instant access to hundreds of health commodities for thousands of health facilities across the country.

Autonomous drones


This marked the first time in history that autonomous drones have been used to make regular long-range deliveries into densely populated urban areas.

Zipline reaches half the population

Zipline’s current network in Ghana can reach up to half the population.

Life-saving care

All too often, people requiring life-saving care do not get the medicine they need when they need it.


Reduce medical waste

To increase access and reduce medical waste, key stock of blood products, vaccines, and life-saving medications are stored at Zipline’s base for just-in-time delivery.

Health workers place orders

Health workers place orders by text message or call and promptly receive their deliveries in 30 minutes on average.

Drones deliver the orders


The drones take off from and land at Zipline’s base, requiring no additional infrastructure or manpower at the clinics they serve.

Each drone can carry 1.8 kilos of cargo

The drones fly autonomously and can carry 1.8 kilos of cargo, cruising at 110km an hour, and have a round trip range of 160km—even in high-speed winds and rain.

How Zipline works

Each week, a single Zipline distribution centre – a combination of medical fulfilment warehouse and drone airport – is capable of the on-demand delivery of more than two tonnes of temperature-controlled medicine to any point across an almost 8,000 square mile service area.


Zipline, drones, Newscenta, 14.8m deliveries, 2022, medical products,

30 to 45 minutes deliveries

Each aircraft can fly 100 miles round trip, in strong winds and rain, day or night, to make on-demand deliveries in 30 to 45 minutes on average.

Zipline’s drones have flown more than five million autonomous miles to deliver more than 1.5 million doses of vaccines, units of blood, and critical and life-saving medications to more than a thousand health facilities serving more than 25 million people across three countries.

Zipline in United States

In the United States, Zipline has partnered with a leading healthcare system, Novant Health, on the country’s first drone logistics operation by a hospital system for pandemic response.


To date, Novant Health has utilised Zipline to make contactless drone distribution of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to frontline medical teams around Charlotte, North Carolina.

Zipline operating in Kaduna and Cross River States in Nigeria

Zipline recently commenced medical delivery services in Kaduna and Cross River States in Nigeria as its footprint grows across Africa.

Set to begin commercial operations in Côte D’Ivoire and Kenya

The company is set to begin commercial operations in Côte D’Ivoire and Kenya this week bringing to five countries in Africa to have adopted the technology.






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