KINGSTON, Jamaica April 21 (JIS) — Minister of Health, Dr. Christopher Tufton, has invited members of the pharmaceutical industry to partner with the government in facilitating the National Health Fund’s (NHF) Drug Serv counters in their establishments.
He made the appeal during a ‘Meet the Minister’ luncheon forum with the industry players, at the Knutsford Court Hotel, in Kingston, on April 19.
Dr. Tufton said the newly installed Chairman of the NHF, Christopher Zacca, and his team, have been tasked to establish a subcommittee from the Board to formulate a partnership with the drug dispenser program and the private pharmacies, which will see pharmacies allowing the program to be run through their facilities.
He noted that this move is aligned with the government’s mandate to improve quality access to health care and facilitate access in a timely manner.
“I would like to see those persons who can’t afford it and who have to depend on the government to support them in terms of drugs, have greater choices in where they go to access such drugs and, by extension, waiting less time than they do now at Drug Serv windows,” he said.
Dr. Tufton urged the business owners to become engaged in discussions to facilitate this venture.
There are currently 10 Drug Serv locations in Kingston, St. Catherine, St. Thomas, Manchester, Westmoreland, St. Elizabeth and Clarendon.
The government, in 1996, mandated Health Corporation Limited (which was established in 1994) to set up retail pharmacies under the Drug Serv Program, in order to cushion escalating costs of pharmaceutical products and improve medication compliance for the elderly and persons with chronic illnesses, who could not afford vital medication.
In 2011, the NHF took over Health Corporation Limited and started operating the Drug Serv pharmacies.