JIS News

Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson says the government is willing to collaborate with interested private sector entities for the provision of well-needed generic medications.

He said such partnership would be encouraged provided that these entities have the capacity to produce the generic drugs through public/private partnerships. "We feel this is the way to go in addressing our current and future health needs,” he remarked.

The Minister was speaking on September 6, during a signing ceremony for some 43 pharmaceutical contracts, valued at $3.3 billion, between the National Health Fund (NHF) and a number of local and international suppliers.

Dr. Ferguson stated that Jamaica has a generic drug policy, which supports sourcing the best available medications at the most affordable prices.

"We have not closed the door to public/private partnership. I do believe that there must be… the possibility for public/private partnership. What we want in the end is value for money and value for every dollar spent and therefore in the end, if it is the private sector that must do it, it will be done," he stated.

The Health Minister said the government is in support of measures employed by the World Health Organization (WHO) to minimise the distribution of counterfeit and sub-standard pharmaceuticals.

"We are also cognisant and support wholeheartedly, the WHO's position at the last World Health Assembly promoting the issues of affordability and accessibility of pharmaceuticals," he said.

He noted that from a regional perspective, great strides have been made through the work of the Regional Pharmaceutical Policy and “our Regional Drug Testing Lab continues to carry out its mandate of quality assurance of drugs manufactured for the Caribbean market”.

He informed that to this end, the regional body is currently hosting a technical advisory meeting in Jamaica.

"They are examining how best to maintain and improve the region’s drug efficacy and quality, as well as exploring reducing costs, as a guide to regional governments and as part of developing a framework for a regional drug policy," he stated.