Six Kingston Pharmacies Sign on to Public-Sector Partner Programme

Photo: Rudranath Fraser Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton (2nd right), greets Keith Simpson who was at Everybody’s Pharmacy on Slipe Road to fill his prescription. At left is another patient, Althea Brown. Occasion was the launch of the Kingston leg of the Public Sector Pharmacy Partner Pilot Programme on Tuesday (February 28) at the pharmacy’s Slipe Road offices. Looking on at right is Clinical Pharmacist at Everybody’s Pharmacy, Dr. Ernestine Watson.

Story Highlights

  • The Ministry of Health has partnered with six private pharmacies in Kingston to facilitate speedier dispensing of medication to persons issued with prescriptions at public hospitals and clinics.
  • The six participating pharmacies in Kingston are Ashbiz Pharmacy, Dolphin Pharmacy, Regal Pharmacy, Marching Bee’s Pharmacy Limited, New Horizons Pharmacy Limited; and Everybody’s Pharmacy.
  • The Public Sector Pharmacy Partner Pilot Programme is being implemented by the National Health Fund (NHF).

The Ministry of Health has partnered with six private pharmacies in Kingston to facilitate speedier dispensing of medication to persons issued with prescriptions at public hospitals and clinics.

This is being done under the Public Sector Pharmacy Partner Pilot Programme, which was launched in Clarendon in December with five participating pharmacies.

The aim is to improve the delivery of medication to public patients by giving them more options to fill their prescriptions, thereby reducing their waiting time for service.

The six participating pharmacies in Kingston are Ashbiz Pharmacy, Dolphin Pharmacy, Regal Pharmacy, Marching Bee’s Pharmacy Limited, New Horizons Pharmacy Limited; and Everybody’s Pharmacy.

Speaking at the launch at Everybody’s Pharmacy, 109 Slipe Road, Kingston on Tuesday (February 28), Portfolio Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton said the initiative has been working in Clarendon.

“We would obviously be looking at any of the challenges that we have faced and seek to make it better, but, to date, over 3,000 Jamaicans, who would have had to go to the hospital pharmacy, have been able to access their drugs through one of (five) private pharmacies in May Pen,” he said

Dr. Tufton said there are plans to roll out the programme to other sections of the island. Three pharmacies have signed on for the St. James region.

“We need to provide a more efficient way of distributing public drugs to Jamaicans who otherwise cannot afford it… hence this relationship,” the Health Minister said.

 

For her part, Clinical Pharmacist at Everybody’s Pharmacy, Dr. Ernestine Watson, said that it is hoped that with the programme, the long wait by patients to fill prescriptions will be “a thing of the past”.

She said the pharmacy is happy to participate in the initiative. “I know the patients will benefit from this. Of course, as entrepreneurs and investors, we hope to remain viable and grow our businesses and continue to contribute to the five-in-four growth forecast for Jamaica,” Dr. Watson said.

The Public Sector Pharmacy Partner Pilot Programme is being implemented by the National Health Fund (NHF).

Under the programme, persons will be asked to pay $200 to offset administrative costs for filling prescriptions at participating private pharmacies.

Approximately 190 Vital, Essential and Necessary (VEN) pharmaceutical items have been approved for the programme and can be accessed by public patients through participating pharmacy partners.

To be eligible to participate in this programme, public patients must be prescribed medications that are on the approved list. They will be required to sign up to participate and must have a Government of Jamaica Health Card or the National Health Fund Card.

It is estimated that the programme will cost the Government between $200 million and $300 million per year.

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