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Health Minister promises ease in medicine shortage in 18 months

Published:Wednesday | April 9, 2014 | 5:47 PM

Jovan Johnson, Gleaner Writer

KINGSTON, Jamaica:

The Health Ministry is promising that within the next 18 months, the problem of unavailable prescription drugs will be eased at public health facilities.

During this afternoon’s deliberations by the Standing Finance Committee, the Health Minister Dr Fenton Ferguson conceded that patients have been facing difficulties getting certain prescription drugs at hospitals.

He was reacting to complaints by the Opposition Spokesperson on Environment, Dr Andrew Wheatley.

Wheatley insisted that any decline in the number of patents using the pharmaceutical provisions of the no-user fee policy would give a wrong impression.

He said the cause lies in the lack of hospitals to supply drugs, forcing patients to purchase externally.

While conceding, Ferguson noted that the problem will be addressed with the removal of the pharmaceutical services from the health ministry to the National Health Fund.

The Government has set aside $4.3 billion for its pharmaceutical services this fiscal year.

The phased roll out of the Government’s pharmaceutical services began on Monday at the Bustamante Hospital for Children in Kingston.


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