Panellists at a “Pharma Business Forum” in Accra, have called for innovative funding solutions to help support and drive business performance in the pharmaceutical sector.
Mr. Samuel Donkoh, the President of Pharmaceutical Importers & Wholesalers Association (PIWA) noted that there was a seeming lack of big-ticket lending support for industry players interested in pharmaceutical manufacturing.
He said there was also lack of adequate credit lines and payment periods to accommodate the long cash conversion cycle in the pharmaceutical sector, especially with imports and manufacturing, needing urgent attention.
The “Pharma Business Forum” was to explore how the fortunes of the pharma business could be advanced beyond current gains.
The first of the Pharma Business Series was dubbed “Women in Pharma Business”, and explored the trends and opportunities for women in the pharma business.
Mr Donkoh, speaking in a hybrid-webinar, said there was also the lack of support for start-up pharma businesses.
Mr. James Oracca-Tetteh, Head of Enterprise Banking & Partnership Manager, Fidelity Bank, Ghana, said the Bank, through its partnership with PharmAccess, had supported pharmacies, especially in the retail sector with loans and equity support to grow their businesses.
He said the Bank expected pharma business players to have the capacity to pay and have healthy cash flow to support repayment of loans and the willingness to pay.
Mr Oracca-Tetteh said they should have a track record of business responsibilities, especially on transactional and financial obligations with strong corporate governance culture.
He said with the above qualities, banks would readily adapt to peculiar situations with the pharma business sector and support the sector to flourish.
Mr. Derrick Awudzie-Odoom, Country Manager, Medical Credit Fund of PharmAccess Group, reiterated Fidelity Bank’s position and willingness to support pharma businesses.
He said the financial institution had already had about 40-60 percent of its healthcare financing with pharmacies, especially in the retail sector.
“Medical Credit Fund is the funding arm of the PharmAccess Group, an NGO that has helped with healthcare funding through equity financing for over 10 years in Ghana and other African countries,” the Country Director, said.
Mr. Anthony Owusu Annan, Chief Executive Officer, Impact Capital Financial Services said it was obvious that equity financing was not popular with the pharma business sector in Ghana and advised pharma business players to avail themselves for engagements with equity fund managers to benefit from such arrangements.
Mr. Frank Owiredu-Yeboa, Treasurer of Ghana Co-operative Pharmacists Credit Union said the majority of members of the Union were pharmacists, and that the discussions fed into the Union’s programme of supporting pharma businesses with loans.