LACK OF pharmacists in the Eastern Region is posing a threat to dispensing and supervising wholesome medicine supply chain in the region.
The region currently has a little over 90 pharmacists taking care of over three million people.
According to the Eastern Regional chairman of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana (PSGH), Mr Silas Agyekum, lack of pharmacists in the region has been an obstacle to supervision of medicine supply chain, and effective use and supply of original medicines to consumers.
He said “we have over three million people in the Eastern Region; as we speak we have a little over 90 pharmacists serving three million people. If you divide you will have one pharmacist to over 4,000 patients. It is highly unacceptable and far below World Health Organisation (WHO) standard.”
He said there was the need for equitable distribution of pharmacists in all regions to help ensure public safety in dispensing and consumption of drugs.
War against fake medicines
The PSGH branch in the Eastern Region has meanwhile intensified efforts to deal with the influx of counterfeit drugs and illicit drug use, and is ensuring professional practice by pharmacists in the region.
WHO report estimates that each year, over 800,000 people, most of them from Ghana and the rest other parts of Africa, die because of fake drugs as they are less expensive and more accessible than the original ones.
The fake drug smuggling business is estimated to be worth over 400 billion Euros, more profitable than the sale of legal drugs, hence has become a booming business at the expense of innocent lives.
Research has indicated that the production, distribution and consumption of fake and sub-standard drugs, regardless of form, reason or quantity, approach taken for their control could be dangerous.
Speaking to the DAILY HERITAGE at Akosombo during the Annual General Meeting and launch of the 2017 regional version of the World Pharmacists Day, which falls today, September 25, 2017, Mr Agyekum stated that the fight against fake drugs must start from the country’s borders, a decision which requires political commitment.
“A fake drug on the market in every country has to do with political will of the government. So, we as professional bodies, we’ve always been engaging the government to beef up security measures at our borders,” he said.
According to Mr Agyekum, the PSGH has intensified its stakeholder engagements and public awareness creation on fake drugs and illicit drug patronage to help deal with the menace and curb the abuse of tramadol drug among the youth.
He said several awareness creation activities had been lined up as part of the celebration of the World Pharmacists Day, which will be marked in Ghana on September 26, 2017.