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Story Highlights

  • The Ministry of Health is looking to partner with private pharmacies to distribute drugs to patients, who use public health facilities.
  • The service is also offered under special circumstances as in the case of the administration of drugs to HIV-positive persons.
  • Work is under way at five clinics across the island that are in close proximity to hospitals.

The Ministry of Health is looking to partner with private pharmacies to distribute drugs to patients who use public health facilities.

“We are now looking at including, under a public-private partnership arrangement, private pharmacies to administer public drugs to public patients,” said portfolio Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton.

He was addressing a press briefing following a tour of the Black River Hospital on July 21.

He explained that a similar process takes place under the Jamaica Drugs for the Elderly Programme (JADEP), where a senior citizen can access the benefit at a private pharmacy.
The service is also offered under special circumstances as in the case of the administration of drugs to HIV-positive persons.

Dr. Tufton said the partnership will take some of the pressure off the 24 public hospitals across the island. He pointed out that the hospitals are generally crowded because of the access to free drugs through the hospital pharmacies.
“We’re going to be rolling out over a period of time a process of working with a number of private pharmacies and that will take some of the pressure off the hospital system, because people will know that when they see a doctor at the hospital they can go to the pharmacy in the town and get the same prescription filled,” he pointed out.

Meanwhile, Dr. Tufton said the Ministry is committed to continuing work to upgrade clinics in order to reduce overcrowding at hospitals.

Work is under way at five clinics across the island that are in close proximity to hospitals.  “For those that we have started, the clinics are now opening up to 10:00 pm and we are assessing and tweaking as we go along,” he pointed out.