The Regulation of the Distribution of Pharmaceuticals and Its Impact on Access to Medicines in Ghana
MIPLC Master Thesis Series (2014/15)
78 Pages Posted: 10 May 2016
Date Written: 2015
Access to pharmaceuticals as curative or therapeutic agents is a main determinant of the efficiency and quality of a health care system. The overall outcome of a medical intervention often depends largely on the success of the pharmaceutical regimen. Globally, efforts have been made to ensure the availability of drugs in developing countries through the TRIPs flexibilities. Beyond these interventions, the regulation of the distribution of the medicines within the beneficiary countries can negatively affect access of consumers to these drugs. Where a health insurance system exists, high drug prices are not a problem of the individual patient, but still a problem that entails huge social costs.
The distribution of drugs has a great influence on access to drugs by the patient. Accessibility to essential medicines depends on availability, accessibility and acceptability of the essential medicines on the market and whether the patients who need these medicines can afford to purchase them. Access to drugs is affected by laws that regulate the various aspects of distribution, intellectual property related rights like patents and to some extent trade marks. Ghana regulates the distribution of drugs through different sector laws. These laws govern the importation, sale, advertising, prescribing and dispensing of drugs to patients. Ghana imports about 70 percent of its drug needs. Most of these imported drugs are generic drugs. The laws governing the distribution of drugs determine whether the drugs can easily be made available on the market and whether the quality, safety and efficacy will meet the required standard.
The thesis will access both non-intellectual property and intellectual property laws and policies that relate to the distribution of drugs. It will argue that the laws and policy guidelines that govern the distribution of medicines in Ghana adversely affect the availability, accessibility and affordability of medicines.
Keywords: MIPLC, Medicine, Law, Patent Law, Ghana, Drugs, Policy Issues, IP Rights, Access to Drugs, Regulation
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