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BDS is ready to roll

BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

BDS is ready to roll

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IT’S NOT CLEAR whether patients will switch from private to public pharmacies in droves to avoid paying a drug dispensing fee from April 1, but the state-run institutions are gearing up to be ready for anything.
Leader of the team dealing with changes to the Barbados Drug Service (BDS) formulary, Cheryl-Ann Yearwood, says state pharmacies have asked for more staff and are looking to have bigger stocks in a bid to improve service to the public.
The pharmacist told BDS beneficiaries, including people suffering from hypertension and diabetes: “We’re making infrastructural changes in the pharmacies to shift around the way we do things so that we can better accommodate you.
“We’ve made recommendations to the Ministry of the Civil Service for [an] increase in staff . . . We are also looking at increasing the amount of drugs we have available in the pharmacies to accommodate you, if you choose to use a public sector pharmacy.”
She said measures were being introduced to ensure drugs out of stock were made available to public pharmacies in the shortest possible time. The meeting continued a public education programme the BDS has been having on the impending changes which were announced by Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs Chris Sinckler in the 2010 Budget.
Government has revised the list of drugs on the formulary, dropping several, and introduced a dispensing fee for BDS beneficiaries who fill their prescriptions at private pharmacies.
BDS director Maryam Hinds and chairman of the Drug Formulary Committee Dr Collette George said Barbados was not switching from brand name drugs to cheaper generic medication.
They reported that roughly 27 per cent of the products in the formulary constituted brand name drugs.
George pointed out that while there had been a decreased range of drugs now available to patients under the Government’s health scheme, the quality of the service had not been compromised. (TY)