NATION

Akbar Clears the Air About Free Medicine Programme

Not all the medicines in the pharmacy are covered in the Free Medicine Programme. The Minister for Health and Medical Services, Rosy Akbar, made this clarification in Parliament while delivering
10 Feb 2017 11:00
Akbar Clears the Air About Free Medicine Programme
Minister for Health and Medical Services, Rosy Akbar

Not all the medicines in the pharmacy are covered in the Free Medicine Programme.

The Minister for Health and Medical Services, Rosy Akbar, made this clarification in Parliament while delivering her ministerial statement yesterday.

She said there were more than 10,000, medicines available in Fiji to treat many different types of diseases.

However, Ms Akbar said it was not possible to provide all of these under the programme.

She said the programme was limited to 142 of the most commonly prescribed medicines both generic and branded forms.

Out of the 142, Ms Akbar said only four were covered by the programme which could be supplied by the major hospitals because they were to be prescribed by a consultant and given an injection which is available at a divisional hospital.

The four medicines are Enoxaparin, Vitamin B12, Surfactant and Alteplase.

She said 65 private retail pharmacies and 47 Government health facilities were involved in the programme.

Ms Akbar said the programme represented a significant improvement in Fiji’s access to essential medicines.

Opposition MP, Anare Vadei, said that it was time that the ministry should start thinking of resorting to traditional medicines, which were more affordable.

Ms Akbar said the programme was driven by the Government’s commitment to reach out and assist marginalised people, who earned below $20,000 annually.

She said the initiative ensured that no one was deprived of their right to basic health needs.

Ms Akbar said the supply of quality, safe, affordable and accessible medicine was one of the key pillars of a sustainable health system.

The eligibility for the programme only applies to adults with an annual income of less than $20,000 and individuals younger than 18 years, whose combined parental income are less than $20,000.

She said the 142 medicines which currently come under the programme, firstly were anti-microbial medicines such as antibiotics, antifungal and antivirals.

Ms Akbar said secondly, there were medicines for non-communicable diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol levels, mental illnesses and asthma.

She said thirdly there were medicines to treat anaemia, common allergies and muscular pains.

Ms Akbar said the last category of the programme included basic dressings to help people manage simple wounds at home.

As of December last year, she said the ministry had purchased around $4.8 million worth of medicines.

“As of Friday the 3rd of February, a total of 24,317 people have registered for the Free Medicine Programme,” Ms Akbar said.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedback:  arieta.vakasukawaqa@fijisun.com.fj



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