The Upper East branch of Health Insurance Service Providers Association of Ghana (HISPAG) have threatened to commence co-payment of drugs to NHIS card bearers’ beginning 1st October 2015 if the National Health Insurance Authority does not urgently release realistic drug tariffs by 30th September.
Addressing a press conference in Bolgatanga, regional president of HISPAG, Dr. Francis Asaana said the last time the authority reviewed it’s drug tarrif was in July 2014.
He added that over 50% of the drugs on the NHIS list are below market prices lamented that several appeals to the authority to review it have proved futile hence their decision to implement co-payment if they matter is not resolved within time.
Dr. Asaana stressed that HISPAG facilities are operating at a loss because they buy drugs at high prices and dispense to NHIS subscribers at a very low prices which is having a dire consequence on their operations and may lead to stocking of fake drugs by some facilities just to compromise with the NHIS price list.
“…For example, we buy the most genuine paracetamol from Letap pharmaceuticals at a cost of GHc31p per tablet but insurance says it should be billed GHc20p per tablet. We buy P-alaxcin from Tobinco pharmaceuticals at GHC8.00 per course but insurance says we should bill it on subscribers at GHc5.50p. Who bares the extra cost?” he lamented.
The doctor insisted that “if this is not tackled what is going to happen is that, people will be compelled to go to Nigeria and other countries to bring in fake and cheaper drugs for patients and it won’t be good for the country.”
“We are therefore appealing to the NHIS as a matter of urgency to immediately release the new drug tariff that they have so that we can meet the financial needs in fact we in the upper east have given NHIS up to 30th September to give a realistic drug tariffs else on the 1st of October we will start co-payment.”
He said even though insurance does not allow for co-payment, it is the best option because it will reduce the risk of patients buying prescribed drugs at exorbitant prices outside health facilities and also address the extra drug cost they have been bearing.
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By: Frederick Awuni/citifm