Tuesday, April 16, 2024

BDS costs triple in 10 years


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THE BARBADOS DRUG SERVICE (BDS) has seen its expenditure triple in the last ten years. Minister of Health Donville Inniss told regional medicinal practitioners gathered at the PAHO/WHO Office of Caribbean Programme Coordination in Dayrells Road, Christ Church, yesterday that prescription volume in Barbados had moved from 806 950 in 1998 to over 2.1 million in 2009 to 2010. “Using 1998 as the base year,” Inniss said, “Barbados has seen an increase in expenditure in its public drug service of approximately 325 per cent up to 2009, which does not include the QEH [Queen Elizabeth Hospital] expenditure on drugs.” And this year the Ministry of Health has been allocated $35 million for the Barbados Drug Service, the minister added.Inniss was addressing Caribbean pharmacists working on the first draft of the Caribbean Pharmaceutical Policy to be presented at the Regional Ministers of Health Caucus in Washington, DC, come September.One of the co-ordinators, Louisa Stüwe, said the meeting was broken into a two-day workshop on the policy, followed by a one-day assessment of the WHO/EU ACP project Partnership On Pharmaceutical Policies.“We are seeking to improve access to safe and quality medicines and advocate their rational use, and to foster greater co-operation between CARICOM states and the Dominican Republic, which would ultimately lead to better health of the population and enhanced productivity,” Stüwe said.Featured speaker at the opening session of the pharmacists workshop, minister Inniss, who outlined the rising cost of pharmaceuticals in Barbados, gave the Government’s commitment to health care.He said it was the primary responsibility of every country to ensure access to quality, affordable medicine, particularly in the current economic climate, adding it would require that governments put the necessary administrative and legal framework in place.“It is recognised worldwide that the regulation of medicines is part of the essential functions of public health. In addition it is important to ensure the safety and efficacy of medicines. This workshop is considered a step in the right direction to achieving this goal,” Inniss stated.He said there were few sectors that consistently provoked as much debate and controversy as the health sector, regardless of the island or country. “This is perhaps so due to the importance of accessible and affordable health care to our people, coupled with the competing interest therein and fuelled by spiralling health care costs and decreasing health budgets.Inniss advised that “as leaders in this sector we must not be daunted but must remain focused on correcting the wrongs, and building a sustainable health care system including a practical pharmaceutical service”. (CA)


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