The Ghana National Chamber of Pharmacy has cautioned government against the planned removal of the benchmark import value on pharmaceutical products.
According to the group, failure to reserve the policy will “lead to the increase of prices of medicines and other medical supplies”.
Not only that, they fear the impact will result in the high cost of healthcare delivery with its attendant cost implications on NHIS medicines, which will affect patients in general.
The Ghana Revenue Authority has indicated the intended cancellation of the discounts on Benchmark Values for vehicles and general goods from the 15th of November 2021.
In a statement, however, the Chamber demanded a review of the discount of the benchmark values on some products.
“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.
Already, the Ghana Union of Traders Associations (GUTA) has asked its members to reject plans to reverse the benchmark value reduction policy .
The government in 2019, reduced the benchmark value or delivery values of imports, by 50%, except for vehicles which were to be reduced by 30%. This was to reduce smuggling while increasing its revenues.
Some stakeholders like the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) have, however, raised concerns about the move, insisting that it made local producers uncompetitive.
Some have questioned the need for the reduction when it did not seem to reflect in the prices of goods on the market, but GUTA had a justification for the policy.
The Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana has also threatened to have its members increase the price of the goods they bring into the country if the government goes through with the reversal.
Meanwhile, the GRA says the said document with details of a list of products whose benchmark value discounts will be reviewed from Monday, 15th November 2021, has not received policy approval for implementation.
According to a statement signed by Mrs. Florence Asante, the Assistant Commissioner for Communication and Public Affairs at the GRA, such policy approval, when obtained will be communicated during the 2022 Budget Statement presentation scheduled for 17th November 2021.