JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Health Minister, John Junor is urging Jamaicans who suffer from chronic illnesses, to take advantage of the National Health Fund (NHF), which provides assistance to persons with such conditions by subsidising their prescription costs.
  • In addition, the Minister is also encouraging doctors to advise their patients to enroll with the Fund.
  • Speaking at a media luncheon organised by the NHF at the Courtleigh Hotel in New Kingston on October 28, Mr. Junor said the registration process was not cumbersome.

Health Minister, John Junor is urging Jamaicans who suffer from chronic illnesses, to take advantage of the National Health Fund (NHF), which provides assistance to persons with such conditions by subsidising their prescription costs.

In addition, the Minister is also encouraging doctors to advise their patients to enroll with the Fund.

Speaking at a media luncheon organised by the NHF at the Courtleigh Hotel in New Kingston on October 28, Mr. Junor said the registration process was not cumbersome.

“In fact, most people now are getting their cards the same day. It is much faster now,” he added.

He informed the journalists that the NHF had the distinction of a fast turnaround time in terms of the payments made to pharmacists, typically paying the subsidized costs of drugs provided to NHF cardholders within a week.

Information provided by the Fund states that since its establishment in October of last year, $65 million in subsidies has been paid from both the Jamaica Drugs for the Elderly Programme (JADEP) and the NHF.

Addressing concerns about how the government would respond to the fluctuating costs of prescription drugs supplied by pharmacists and manufacturers, Minister Junor said “if you look at the differential in prices and recall that we are offering subsidies ranging from 35 to 50 per cent, and if you look at the choices, there is a tremendous price range”.

“Therefore it is important to educate our consuming public in the health sector as well as to appeal to our doctors to take into account their prescribing habits and the patients themselves, when they are addressing their minds as to what drugs to prescribe,” he added.

The NHF also announced that it has increased the number of prescription drugs it covers for its cardholders, upping the number from 500 to 800 drugs, effective Monday, November 1.

It has also increased the subsidy it provides from an average 35 per cent to an average 50 per cent for all items on its drug list.

The NHF assists all Jamaicans resident in the country, who suffer from chronic illnesses, to meet the cost of filling their prescriptions.

The specified illnesses covered are, arthritis, asthma, breast cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, glaucoma, high cholesterol, hypertension, ischaemic heart disease, major depression, prostate cancer, psychosis, rheumatic fever heart disease and vascular disease.

A booklet listing all the drugs, which the NHF provides for, has also been released.

The Fund is working to have them available at pharmacies, doctors’ offices, health clinics, supermarkets, churches, and other places.

To date, there are 140,000 registered beneficiaries of the NHF.