Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton, says that over 17, 000 prescriptions have been filled to date under the Public Sector Pharmacy Partner Pilot Programme.
The initiative, launched last December, involves partnership with private pharmacies for the dispensing of drugs to public patients.
Dr. Tufton said the programme has significantly reduced waiting time for patients.
“The response has been nothing but positive,” he said, while delivering the keynote address at the official opening of the upgraded Drug Serv Pharmacy in Greater Portmore, St. Catherine on Friday (June 9).
Administered by the National Health Fund (NHF), the Public Sector Pharmacy Partner Pilot Programme aims to improve the delivery of services to public patients by giving them more options to fill their prescriptions.
Six pharmacies in Kingston and five in Clarendon are taking part in the pilot and Dr. Tufton and the number of participating pharmacies will increase to 50 this year.
Approximately 190 Vital, Essential and Necessary (VEN) pharmaceutical items have been approved for the programme. Patients will be required to sign up to participate and must have a Government of Jamaica Health Card or the National Health Fund Card.
Persons will be asked to pay $200 to offset administrative costs.
The Drug Serv Pharmacy, located at 5 West, Greater Portmore, was upgraded at a cost of $42 million.
The 2, 852-square foot facility has five dispensing windows, up from one, fully enclosed waiting area to accommodate 65 patients, as well as a counselling room. It also has comfortable staff facilities.
The upgraded building meets all the requirements of the Pharmacy Council of Jamaica, and international standards for people with disabilities.
The NHF-operated pharmacy opened in 1998 and as demand for services grew, the original space and waiting area became inadequate.
The pharmacy, on average, dispenses 6,000 prescriptions for up to 320 patients each month. Paediatric and elderly patients represent the majority of its clients.