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Extend access to prescription medication for seniors – PNP

Jamaica Observer 2020-03-26 03:28:29

KINGSTON, Jamaica — People's National Party (PNP) spokesman on Health, Dr Morais Guy says the National Health Fund and private health insurance providers should move to fully adjust the rules governing the dispensing of prescription drugs from one to two months at a time.

Guy said the rule is particularly problematic for the elderly who are under lock down orders as stipulated by the Disaster Risk Management Enforcement measures.

The measures which came into effect today, stipulate that persons 75 years old and older are required to remain indoors at all times.

Guy said while he is aware that some amount of leniency has been made in recent times, there are still obstacles that make it prohibitive for most persons to access critical drugs.

Guy noted that currently, pharmacists are expected to call Jamaica Drug for the Elderly Programme (JADEP) for approval to dispense additional months of medication on the requests of patients. He added that at least one health insurance provider has made some adjustment to prescription allowances.

“Adjustments to access of medication need to be made  across the board so that elderly persons, especially those who do not have ready help, can have more than one month's supply at a time, so they are not forced leave their homes and unnecessarily put themselves at risk,” Guy said.

He pointed out that the majority of these persons have been able to manage their supplies without the threat of overdosing and therefore two months of medication to tide them over the immediate crisis would be helpful in the interim.

Guy said pharmacies that are able put in place a delivery service for their elderly customers should also consider this option.

“It is going to be hard to keep these persons from breaking the order if they are out of supplies and feel their health is at risk. We are therefore recommending that that an adjustment be made through the JADEP and private sector companies as part as their contribution to the national effort in this COVID-19 crisis,” he said.