The Legal Drug Dealer: Do patients have rights in a pharmacy?

The Legal Drug Dealer

“The Health Service is for all people living in Ghana irrespective of age, sex, ethnic background or religion.”

 As a patient, your fundamental human rights are paramount and should be protected as best as possible. It is the collaborative duty of health workers, patients, clients and society to do so.

The Sixth Schedule in the Public Health Act 851, Act 2012 makes sure that patients know their rights and responsibilities.

Health providers are to provide for and respect the rights and responsibilities of patients, clients, families and other health care providers. They must be sensitive to the patient’s socio-cultural and religious backgrounds, age, gender and any other differences as well as the needs of patients with disabilities. It is therefore imperative that we know the rights and responsibilities we are entitled to.


  1. The patient has the right to quality basic health care irrespective of the patient’s geographical location.

It is the right of the patient to get easily accessible, equitable and comprehensive health care of the highest quality within the resources of the country irrespective of where you find yourself.

  1. The patient is entitled to full information on the patient’s condition and management and the possible risks involved except in emergencies when the patient is unable to make a decision and the need for treatment is urgent.

Right from the moment you enter the hospital till you leave unless in cases of emergency, you are entitled to every information on your condition.

  1. The patient is entitled to know of the alternative treatments and other health care providers within the Service if these may contribute to improved outcomes.

Healthcare practitioners are to let you know all your alternatives and help you choose them.

  1. The patient has the right to know the identity of the caregivers and any other persons who may handle the patient including students, trainees and ancillary workers.

You reserve the rights to ask every caregiver their names. Some facilities provide name tags to make things easier for the patient.

  1. The patient has the right to consent or decide to participate in a proposed research study involving the patient after a full explanation has been given, and the patient may withdraw at any stage of the research project.


  1. A patient who declines to participate in or withdraws from a research project is entitled to the most effective care available.


  1. The patient has the right to privacy during consultation, examination and treatment and in cases where it is necessary to use the notes of the patient’s case for teaching and conferences, the consent of the patient must be sought.

Counselling and consultation should be done without discrimination, intimidation or violence and with the privacy you deserve. Especially on matters like reproductive health and HIV/AIDS.


  1. The patient is entitled to the confidentiality of information obtained about the patient and that information shall not be disclosed to a third party without the consent of the patient, or the person entitled to act on the consent of the patient, except where the information is required by law or is in the public interest.

No health person is allowed to disclose any confidential information to a family member, a friend, fellow health persons until you give the go-ahead. Unless it is required by the law to do so.

  1. The patient is entitled to the relevant information regarding policies and regulation of the health facilities that the patient attends.
  2. Procedures for complaints, disputes and conflict resolution shall be explained to patients or their accredited representatives.


  1. Hospital charges, mode of payment and the forms of anticipated expenditure shall be explained to the patient before treatment


  1. Exemption facilities shall be made known to the patient.


  1. The patient is entitled to personal safety and reasonable security of property within the confines of the institution.
  2. The patient has the right to a second medical opinion if the patient so desires.



As a patient, you need to understand that you have a role to play in healthcare delivery. You have a responsibility to protect yours and other patients’ health as well as that of the healthy persons attending to you. You can do so by:

  • Providing the full and accurate medical history for diagnosis, treatment, counselling and rehabilitation purposes;

This is the only way we can achieve the treatment objectives, reduce mortality rate and economic wastage.

  • Requesting additional information or clarification regarding the patient’s health or treatment, which may not have been well understood;

It is your responsibility to ask questions where necessary. Like I said last week, there is no wrong question.

  • Complying with the prescribed treatment, reporting adverse effects and adhering to follow up requests.

The number of days you are to take the medicine. The time you should take them. The appropriate storage mode. What adverse effects you experience. All these should be made known to our healthcare provider.

  • The healthcare providers of any anticipated problems in following prescribed treatment or advice.

For instance: If you have to take your prescribed medicines four times a day for 7 days, and you know you cannot adhere, let your healthcare provider know. So we can make the necessary changes. We can only know when you tell us. It is your responsibility.

  • Obtaining the necessary information, which has a bearing on the management and treatment including the financial.
  • Acquiring knowledge on preventive, promotive and simple curative practices and where necessary for seeking early professional help;
  • Maintaining a safe and hygienic environment to promote good health

A healthy and safe environment will help maintain physical and mental health or well-being. Do not litter, spit or urinate around the premises. When you use the washroom, do well to flush and use the facilities appropriately.

  • Respecting the rights of other patients or clients and Health Service personnel.

Where your rights end is where that of another begins, they say. So remember nit to overstep your boundaries. Like you, Healthcare providers are humans. That they are there to serve you does not mean you reserve the rights to disrespect them.

(i) Protecting the property of the health facility.

Many a time, people destroy properties because they did not buy them. Beds, wheelchairs, chairs and tables, etc should be taken care of. Take care of any health records; folders, hospital cards and request forms that you are in your possession. Leave well alone if you cannot add to it.

In the case where the patient is a minor or a patient who is unable for whatever reason to make informed decisions by themselves, these rights and responsibilities still apply.

Comprehensive health care is a joint responsibility between the patient and healthcare givers. To achieve treatment goals, patients must understand their illness, follow their treatment and discuss any concerns they have with the appropriate health care workers.


My tip for the week:

Know the weight of your child. For children, most of their treatment regimen is decided on based on their weights.



Public Health Act, 2012 Act 851.

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