Clear health plan
THE?PROJECT?team leader for the new prescription fees that have been rolled out since April 1, says there is nothing haphazard about the system.
Cheryl Yearwood, of the Barbados Drug Service, defended the new system at the latest NATION Talkback series held at St Leonard’s Secondary Boys’ School on Wednesday night that focussed on the topic: The Rising Cost of Health Care.
“When these changes were put in place, the Ministry of Health put in place a project team which will handle some of these responses. The formulary committee comprises several medical practitioners, pharmacists, nurses and there is even a consumer person on that team.
“The tenders committee that decides which brand of product we will buy also comprises medical practitioners, pharmacists . . . . so to say the decision was made haphazard is not fair,” she said.
Under the new system introduced on April 1, Barbadians who opt to have their prescriptions filled at private pharmacies must pay a dispensing fee. However, people can choose to access – free of cost – the same services at the 14 state pharmacies.
Yearwood told a packed audience that included former long-serving BDS director Lennox Prescod and a number of representatives from pharmaceutical companies that the new system had been in the pipeline for quite some time and was a necessity.
“We have thought of it for several years, we have discussed it, worked around it, but we have now made the decision we have to go this way. If not, in another year or two, you will not pay the dispensing fee on some of your medication, you will be paying the full costs on all of your medication,” she said.
Yearwood noted that in the last financial year, Government had paid $52 million on the provision of drugs for the Barbados Drug Service.
There was much discussion relating to generic drugs and brand name drugs and Yearwood was quick to point out there was nothing substandard about generic drugs.
She said the generic drug was a cheap drug, but cheap as in inexpensive and “not cheap as inferior.” (MK)