30% of medicines in Ghana are fake or substandard – Dr Maxwell Antwi

30% of medicines in Ghana are fake or substandard – Dr Maxwell Antwi
Dr Maxwell Antwi

Dr Maxwell Antwi, Country Director, PharmAccess Ghana, has disclosed that about 30% of medicines in Ghana are either fake or substandard.

According to him, Ghana’s medicine market faces multiple complex challenges because there are issues of inventory management, forecasting, the value change is fragmented, payment to medicine suppliers are rarely on time and lack of quality service control.

Speaking at the launch of access to financing for CHAG facilities on the Med4all platform in Accra, Dr Antwi made it known that these challenges lead to frequent stock-out, poor quality and high prices of medicines in the market.

“The price of penicillin in Ghana is seven times that on the NHS in the UK. While this has negative implications for healthcare facilities and legitimate pharmaceutical manufacturers and suppliers, it is the patients in Ghana who pay the ultimate price.

“An estimated 30% of medicines in Ghana are fake or substandard leading to treatment failures, negative side effects, antimicrobial resistances and spread of diseases and unnecessary deaths,” he said.


Dr Maxwell Antwi noted that fake medicine data is something that happens across the globe but in Ghana, it is overwhelming.

“Did we know that the fake medicines market is worth over €400 billion, which is more profitable than narcotics?” he quizzed.

Dr Antwi said, the fake and substandard medicines within the African continent results in the deaths of over 100,000 patients.

He added, due to Ghana’s low credibility rate of fake and substandard medicines, the United Nations has been forced to shoot a documentary of fake and substandard medicine in Ghana.

Through this data, Dr Antwi said, CHAG and PharmAccess have been able to put in place some mechanisms to deal with fake and substandard medicines in the country through Med4all platforms.

He explained the facilities on the Med4all platform were not of equal sizes so based on the consumption forecast for medicine, all of them could access quarterly consumption of medicines and the value of it at no interest.

“We have also mentioned the issue of equity because we want to drive it in such a way that people do not over order… To ensure that everybody has a piece of the cake we would stick with the quarterly consumption that the providers or health facilities need and this would be revolved every quarter.”

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