The Ghana National Medicines Policy is a health sector document to provide guidance and direction on pharmaceuticals. The overall goal of the National Medicines Policy is to ensure: (1) universal, equitable and sustainable access to priority, efficacious and safe medicines and other health technologies of acceptable quality and cost for all people living in Ghana and (2) to promote the responsible use of medicines by healthcare providers and consumers. This policy document aligns to the globally agreed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) especially the SDG 3 which is to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. Again the policy document expresses government’s commitment toward universal health coverage and the national vision of development through healthy population.

The Ghana National Medicine Policy 2017 is a third edition of the policy document which was first published in 1999 and later reviewed in 2004. The policy document was reviewed and designed through multi-stakeholder engagements, consultations and negotiations. The design process included critical analysis of empirical evidence and current pharmaceutical trends and several discussions with stakeholders within and outside the health sector. There were representatives from the Ministry of Health and its agencies; health professional associations and regulatory bodies; developmental partners and National Development Planning Commission. The Ghana National Drugs Programme of the Ministry of Health led the process and finalised the policy document. The Government of Ghana, European Union Partnership, World Health Organization and the United Nations Development Programme provided financial and technical support.

The key strategic areas considered in this policy include bridging equity gaps in geographic access to health services, ensuring sustainable financing for healthcare delivery, improving efficiency in governance and management, intensified prevention and control of communicable and non-communicable diseases, and improving quality of health services delivery including mental health.

The policy document covers broad areas such as selection; strategic purchasing; quality assurance; use of medicines; global trade, research and development; governance and implementation plan.

The selection session focuses on:

(1) Selection of essential medicines and health technologies to ensure that medicines selected for incorporation in the Essential Medicines List are suitable for appropriate treatment of diseases, and that the medicines needs at all levels of the health care system are met in the most scientifically sound and cost-effective manner so that needs of the population at different levels of the health care system are met in the most scientifically sound and cost-effective manner.

(2) Health technology assessments to promote and strengthen the use of systematic social, economic, organizational and ethical evaluation of health interventions including technologies to inform evidence based health sector priority setting on health care cost and insurance reimbursement.

(3) Emerging diseases and pharmaceuticals to ensure the rapid registration, procurement and distribution of any new vaccine, medicine and related-health technologies needed for the treatment and containment of an emerging disease.

The strategic purchasing session focusses on:

(1) Financing to ensure the joint responsibility between government and consumers for a fair system of medicine financing and universal access to essential medicines, including the vulnerable section of the population.

(2) Pricing to improve medicines pricing mechanisms; promote affordability of medicines; promote sustainability of the National Health Insurance and sustain the role of private sector in assuring medicines availability and supply.

(3) Procurement of medicines and medicine-related health technologies ensure that good quality health commodities are available, accessible, and affordable to all people living in Ghana, and anchored by a sustainable and well-coordinated supply chain system.

The quality assurance session focusses on:

(1) Quality assurance of pharmaceuticals to ensure that all medicines available for use in Ghana are safe, effective and meet approved specifications and standards.

(2) Local manufacture to strengthen the local pharmaceutical industry with an emphasis on the cost-effective production of good quality essential medicines and health products as part of an industrial policy of government.

The use of medicines session focusses on:

(1) Rational use of medicine to ensure the scientifically sound and cost-effective use of medicines by health care providers and consumers, in order to maximize the health outcomes and reduce unnecessary expenditure for the government and the public.

(2) Patient safety to assure quality healthcare services through patient safety practices that protect people from undue harm.

(3) Disposal of medicines to ensure the safe disposal of medical waste including expired and unused medical products.

The global trade, research and development session focusses on:

(1) Global trade in pharmaceuticals and health technologies to maintain the balance between the minimum standard of intellectual property rights protection and public health good.

(2) Research and development to promote and coordinate pharmaceutical research in all sectors to inform policies and practices in the pharmaceutical sector.

(3) Traditional Medicinal Products to promote the sustainable use of safe and effective herbal medicines of approved quality.

The governance section focuses on:

(1) Good governance, transparency and accountability to promote cost-effective use of public resources through good governance, transparency and accountability in the pharmaceutical sector.

(2) Risk management to embed risk management into operations of the health system so that risks to medical products, personnel and facilities are constantly identified, analysed, managed and reduced to acceptable levels.

(3) Human resource development for medicines management to ensure that adequate, appropriately trained and well-motivated personnel equitably distributed are available in the health sector to provide effective and efficient pharmaceutical services.

The implementation plan session focuses on activities to ensure effective planning, coordination and monitoring of the implementation of the national medicines policy by the Minister of Health.

The Medicines Policy has been cabinet approved and printed. This is ready to be launched.



Designed by Brian Asare,