Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has launched the first nationwide e-Pharmacy in Africa, the National Electronic Pharmacy Platform (NEPP).
The new platform, a new digitisation measure to enable Ghanaians order for pharmaceutical products from the comfort of their homes, is the latest step in the nation’s digitisation drive spearheaded by the forward-thinking Vice President.
Dr Bawumia launched NEPP at a program held at the Alisa Hotel in Accra today, Monday, July 18th 2022.
Speaking at the launch, the Vice President said the launch of NEPP is to help over 30 million Ghanaians have access to “prescribed medicines in a more convenient, cost-effective and quality assured manner, scaling over counterfeit and inferior medicines.,”
A Multi-Billion Dollar Industry
Ghana has been undergoing a digitisation effort at warp speed since the current government took over power in 2017 and Vice President Bawumia assumed office.
The global e-Pharmacy market is valued at $52bn, compared to the $12.6bn for say, the global cocoa market.
Vice President Bawumia outlined a need for Ghana to tap into such a market and pushed for the establishment of such a platform.
In 2019, Dr Bawumia urged the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana to come up with a platform to digitise the buying of drugs in Ghana and tap into this multi-billion dollar market.
The National Electronic Pharmacy Platform (NEPP) is the result of that challenge – after extensive collaboration between the Pharmaceutical Society and the Vice President’s office.
Cheaper, Cost-efficient and Reliable Drugs for All Ghanaians
The NEPP is to address a need of many Ghanaians who might need drugs but are not in a position or are unwilling to step out of their homes to get the needed drugs.
However, buying online comes with inherent risks that can only be eliminated by a national platform which is legitimate and reliable.
“The introduction of the National ePharmacy Platform for short NEPP is meant to safely and securely make available medicines, reduce the burden of cost and save time,” Bawumia said in his delivery.
Pharmacies across the country are required to sign up and join the platform. Only authenticated pharmacies would be allowed to dispense drugs via NEPP, with each order scrutinised by a team of professional pharmacists.
“The operationalization of the platform is such that every drug request entered into the system is controlled by a team of professional registered pharmacists who based on medication approval and availability, dispense the medication to the patient in a trustworthy manner,” the Veep added.
Such guardrails and safeguards would ensure patients get exactly the medication they require to meet their health needs.
Currently, there are some unscrupulous pharmacies in the system that might sell the wrong or unlicensed medications out of a need for profit over human life.
Any unlucky Ghanaian who deals with such a pharmacy is at major risk of health problems compounded by taking unapproved drugs.
Such unscrupulous individuals might also price gouge consumers by selling drugs at inflated prices.
The use of the NEPP is designed to exactly weed out such entities due to the safeguards in place.
Benefits Of A National ePharmacy
- Ensures transparency in pricing of medicines
- Ensures only approved medications are dispensed to consumers
- Cuts down on easy access to narcotics and dangerous medicines
- Consumers receive medications safely and securely, and save time.
A 21st Century Economy
Ghana continues to make strides forward into the digitisation era through the tireless efforts of Dr Bawumia despite the continued mockery of the naysayers.
The future beckons and digitisation is the way forward whether we want to admit it or not.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution, as the Veep puts it, is upon us and Ghana is striving hard to be at the forefront of it.
“Ultimately, we must all remember that you cannot transform an economy with just bricks and mortar. You can only transform an economy with ideas, systems and institutions,” Bawumia said.
“I am therefore very excited to be here today to launch another major innovation in Ghana’s digitalization journey; Ghana’s National Electronic Pharmacy Platform. This is a great day for Ghana and we should all be justifiably very proud
“…Ghana is the first country in Africa and one of only a few in the world to launch a national-scale electronic pharmacy platform with all licenced pharmacies required to be a part of it and linked to the FDA,” Dr Mahamudu Bawumia officially launched NEPP.