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Gov't to increase subsidy on drugs for NHF beneficiaries

Published:Wednesday | June 29, 2016 | 6:35 PMEdmond Campbell
Minister of Health Dr Christopher Tufton.

Effective September 1 this year, nearly 11,000 National Health Fund (NHF) beneficiaries 18 yeats and under will benefit from a 100 per cent increase in subsidy on pharmaceuticals covered under the programme.

The current subsidy for the particular category of beneficiaries averages about 40 per cent and costs the NHF approximately $26 million annually.

Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton says the move to an average subsidy of 80 per cent is projected to cost the NHF in the region of $70 million annually.

"The impact of this on the 10,850 NHF beneficiaries in this age group is significant as it will reduce the out-of-pocket expenditure and assist in broadening access to vital medicines," Tufton told his parliamentary colleagues on Wednesday while making his contribution to the Sectoral Debate.

Addressing the issue of prolonged delays in getting medication at Drug Serv and hospital pharmacies, Tufton said his ministry was moving to introduce a 24-hour pharmacy service in some hospitals and extended hours in some health centres.

"It is our aim to have pharmacy services in Jamaica that are technology-driven, customer-focused, and efficiently managed. A major initiative to achieve this is the partnerships we will be seeking with private pharmacies to facilitate wider access to the filling of prescriptions and reducing the time persons wait to access their drugs. Patients would, therefore, not need to go to a hospital or Drug Serv pharmacy to access NHF drugs," Tufton added.