Cost Containment A Goal Of The BDS

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Barbados’ Health Minister, Donville Inniss (Second Right) chats with Chief Medical Officer (Ag), Dr. Elizabeth Ferdinand (Left, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, NULL, NULL, 0); Caribbean Program Coordinator, PAHO/WHO, Dr. Bernadette Theodore Gandi (Second Left) and Director of the Barbados Drug Service, Dr. Maryam Hinds (Right)??during a break at the regional consultation workshop on the Caribbean Pharmaceutical Policy held at the Headquarters of the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO),Dayrells Road, St. Michael.

Government’s ultimate goal is to contain the cost of the Barbados Drug Service (BDS) without compromising the quality of care of patients.

Minister of Health, Donville Inniss made this known today as he addressed a regional workshop on the Caribbean Pharmaceutical Policy (CPP) at the headquarters of the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) at Dayrell’s Road, St. Michael.

He said: "The development of the CPP is very timely as the Barbados Government has commenced a restructuring of the Barbados Drug Service.?? As part of the process, the Ministry of Health has been engaged in healthy discussion with the relevant stakeholders over the challenges faced by the BDS, its past mistakes and where we need to reach and what it would take to get there. At the end of the process, Barbados will have a sustainable drug service. "

The Health Minister disclosed that the prescription volume in Barbados had moved from 806,950 in the 1998 financial year to over 2.1 million in 2009/2010. ??"Using 1998 as the base year, Barbados has seen an increase in expenditure in its public drug service of approximately 325 per cent up to financial year 2009. This year, my Ministry has been allocated $35 million for the BDS and this does not include the Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s expenditure on drugs," he said.

Mr. Inniss noted that the changing demographic and epidemiological profiles of the Barbadian population, as well as increases in the types and costs of medicines on the market, were among factors driving the increase in expenditure on medicines.?? "On the other hand," he added, "many medicines were incorporated in the past years to our national drug formulary without removing others."

While commending PAHO/WHO for hosting the workshop, he pointed out that they had also provided important support by training the Drug Formulary Committee, the Tenders Committee and staff at the BDS, over the last two years in the use of evidence for medicines for selection, and had assisted with conducting a comprehensive review and update of the national drug formulary.

Promising that more focus would be placed on policies and programmes designed to keep the population healthy and reduce demand for medication, the Health Minister said the consultation was timely since it would "assist in preparing the platform upon which the restructured proposal would be built to achieve improved management and sustainability of the BDS, through greater efficiencies and effectiveness of the organisation."

He said: "It is recognised worldwide that the regulation of medicines is part of the essential functions of public health, and thus it is the primary responsibility of every country to ensure access to quality medicines that are affordable, particularly in the current economic climate.

"In addition, it is important to ensure the safety and efficacy of medicines. This will require that governments put the necessary administrative and legal framework in place. This workshop is considered a step in the right direction to achieving this goal," he stressed. jgill@barbados.gov.bb

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