The Chamber of Pharmacy Ghana has called for a reduction of tax on all pharmaceutical products manufactured locally or imported.
According to the Chief Executive Officer of the chamber, Mr Anthony Ameka, analysis done by the chamber had revealed that prices of pharmaceutical products could see a reduction of about 15 per cent if the government granted VAT exemptions on all locally or imported products.
He said apart from the 10 per cent import duty that was removed on imported drugs by government, a 17.5 per cent VAT was put on imported medicines.
In Ghana, only 30 per cent of medicines are manufactured locally while 70 per cent are imported.
To this end, Mr Ameka said an additional 17.5 per cent VAT on imported medicines increases medicine bill of over 52.5 per cent, not to mention other additional taxes like ECOWAS Levy, Export Development Levy (EDL), processing charges, and special import levy.
All these taxes and fees, plus transport charges, storage, wholesaler/retailer mark up and bank interests rates, he said, add up to make the final sales price to the government and the patient.
Speaking at an advocacy seminar organised by the Chamber of Pharmacy Ghana in collaboration with Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund, he said VAT on pharmaceutical products had resulted in the high prices of the products.
The purpose of the advocacy plan action is to have inputs from the various stakeholders within the pharmaceutical industry on the reduction of taxes on medicines in Ghana.
The dialogue was attended by representatives of all pharmaceutical companies, including the Pharmaceutical Business Association of Ghana and the Government and Hospital Pharmacists Association (GHOSPA).
Mr Ameka said since the pharmaceutical industry played a unique and pivotal role in the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4, 5, 6 and 8, it was imperative for the government to support the industry.
He said the government’s decision to remove VAT on specified locally produced pharmaceuticals and some of the raw materials used in their production was not enough to address the challenges faced by the industry.
“If there is going to be any form of assistance, it must be to remove all VAT on pharmaceutical products manufactured locally or imported,” he said.
According to Mr Ameka, since its inception, the chamber had dialogued at various fora and solicited for a platform to support the pharmaceutical industry to grow.
“We realise that the challenges that today’s pharmaceutical industry faces are too broad and complex to be tackled by individuals and thus require collaborations and multi-stakeholder partnerships to address our development goals,” he stated.
It was on the theme ‘Advocacy for reduction of tax on medicines in Ghana’.