Ghana’s E-Pharmacy Platform Looks Like It’s Off To A Very Slow Start

By Joseph-Albert Kuuire 3 Min Read

In January of 2023, the Vice President of Ghana, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia officially launched the National Electronic Pharmacy Platform (NEPP).

The NEPP is the first national-scale e-Pharmacy platform in Africa, and one of the few in the world. It is a digital convergence of licensed pharmacies across the country, which enables Ghanaians to have access to prescribed medicines and buy them by making an order with a mobile phone through the e-Pharmacy app, website, or a shortcode, and have the medicine delivered to a requested location.

The platform helps them comply with the regulations of the Pharmacy Council of Ghana, which oversees the licensing and monitoring of pharmacies and pharmacists in the country. The platform also facilitates data collection and analysis, which can inform policy-making and planning in the pharmaceutical sector.

Slow Start and Fees?

Although it was launched ten months ago, the platform looks to have a slow start. On the list of e-Pharmacies, the platform currently only has 18 listed pharmacies in Accra, Ashanti, and Central region with no pharmacies listed in the northern part of the country.

On the list of e-Pharmacy platforms, the platform currently has one registered platform with Healthker being the only platform.

According to a press release in 2022 from the Ghana Pharmacy Council, ePharmacies need to pay a subscription fee of 275 GHC. Apparently, ePharmacies must also pay a 500 GHC to be accredited.

Duplication Of Services?

Some have argued that the e-pharmacy platform is duplicating services already done by some healthcare platforms.

mPharma’s Mutti platform is an online pharmacy that provides access to quality and affordable medications and healthcare to its users. With the e-pharmacy platform also providing similar services, it’s essentially competing.

What Happens Next

It remains to be seen if the program will accelerate next year with more sign-ups for the platform. In our view, it seems it would be more prudent for the Ghana government to regulate instead of building out platforms that could be more handled by the private sector.

We stand to be corrected in the long term.

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Joseph-Albert Kuuire is the creator, editor, and journalist at Tech Labari. Email: Twitter: @jakuuire
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