Minister of Health, Donville Inniss????

Over the last financial year, the Barbados Drug Service (BDS) spent approximately $50 million, up from $16 million in 1994.

This was disclosed today by Health Minister Donville Inniss, who pointed out that this did not include the drug expenditure at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Barbados Defence Force, or Her Majesty’s Prisons, which collectively spent about $17 million.

He was addressing a seminar at Hilton Barbados, entitled "Investigation and Detection of Counterfeit Pharmaceutical Drugs" and sponsored by Pharmaceutical Company Norvartis, in recognition of the BDS’ 30th anniversary.

Minister Inniss said: "Recent statistics indicate that last year the BDS pharmacies filled approximately 740,000 prescriptions in the state-owned pharmacies at a cost of $12.1 million and around 2.1 million were filled in private pharmacies on behalf of the state at a cost of $37.2 million."

The Health Minister explained that in 1994, 70,000 were filled in the public sector and 555,000 in the private sector, on behalf of the state. "Over the last decade we have seen a 294 per cent increase in expenditure for the BDS and a 155 per cent rise in prescription volume," he stressed.

While contending that there was an exponential increase in the use of medications in Barbados, Mr. Inniss revealed that the Ministry was in the final stages of concluding changes to the Health Services Control of Drugs Regulations 1970 to expand the schedules to allow for a wider range of drugs to be dispensed under varying conditions.?? "This should help to contain our costs without compromising on service or regulations," he maintained.

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