Health Ministry Plans to Engage Private Pharmacists

Story Highlights

  • Dr. Tufton said he has been in discussion with Jamaica Association of Private Pharmacy Owners (JAPPO) President, Shereen Dawkins Cox, regarding a submission from the organisation.
  • The Public Sector Pharmacy Partner Programme, which is being spearheaded by the National Health Fund (NHF), will target speedier dispensing of medication to persons issued with prescriptions at public health institutions.
  • Pilot implementation is being undertaken over the next three months in Clarendon and Kingston, involving 14 pharmacies.

The Ministry of Health plans to engage private-sector pharmacists to assist in delivering certain basic services provided at public healthcare institutions.

Portfolio Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, says legislation to this end is being reviewed to determine the extent of the pharmacists’ involvement, “because we believe that you should be doing more than you are doing right now”.

The Minister was speaking during Monday’s (December 19) launch of the Ministry’s Public Sector Pharmacy Partner Pilot Programme, at Health First Pharmacy in May Pen, Clarendon.

Noting that Jamaica’s nearly-500 private-sector pharmacies represent a “critical hub” in healthcare administration islandwide, Dr. Tufton contends that “this should include public healthcare”.

The Minister pointed out that they are located in almost every community, and in many cases are relatively close to healthcare institutions.

Dr. Tufton said that in addition to dispensing pharmaceuticals, “the pharmacists provide counselling to patients to help them understand their prescriptions, the need to take their medication (and) to take it right through to its completion, among other things”.

“Our view is that we need to do more to integrate them into the overall administration of public health, because they have the medical training, sufficient enough to give guidance in a number of areas,” he contended.

One such, the Minister noted, is the administration of vaccines, which he said could be undertaken by pharmacists with “appropriate levels of training”.

“The stress it would take off some of the public (institutions), I think, would enhance the process of administration of healthcare in our country,” he added.

Dr. Tufton said he has been in discussion with Jamaica Association of Private Pharmacy Owners (JAPPO) President, Shereen Dawkins Cox, regarding a submission from the organisation.

“This will help me to appreciate some of the additional services that can be provided,” the Minister said.

“I am committed, next year, to working at it. You have my commitment (and) I am going to work with you as a partner. This is the start of a process that will only get better for you, and in getting better for you, it means getting better for the Jamaican people,” Dr. Tufton added.

The Public Sector Pharmacy Partner Programme, which is being spearheaded by the National Health Fund (NHF), will target speedier dispensing of medication to persons issued with prescriptions at public health institutions.

This is being facilitated under a partnership involving a number of private-sector pharmacies, which will complement services provided by the NHF-run DrugServ pharmacies that are located in public health institutions.

Pilot implementation is being undertaken over the next three months in Clarendon and Kingston, involving 14 pharmacies.

JIS Social