Health chiefs in talks to reduce cost of drugs
Health chiefs are linking up with wholesalers and pharmacies to drive down the cost of medications.
The Bermuda Health Council, a government quango which regulates and co-ordinates the delivery of health services, is liaising with wholesalers and pharmacies to find ways in which prescription drugs can be bought at “a fair and affordable price”.
Ricky Brathwaite, the council’s chief executive officer, said that it was collecting data from suppliers to discover why medications were more costly than they should be.
Dr Brathwaite said: “We eventually want to get to a point where the clinical impact of a medication used here in Bermuda is properly aligned to a fair and affordable price for our residents.
“Just because a drug is really expensive does not make its impact better than a less expensive option. Part of the work then is to have medical and scientific experts participate in choosing what medications work best for our local population and assess why we may not be getting the best prices available for these quality medications.
“Medication price and manufacturing quality vary by country, therefore the more we can tap into quality insights and cost savings methods, the more sustainable our own finances and health can become. We truly thank our partners for their willingness to help in these efforts.
“With that said, while doing better on access to drugs is an important step, we must all continue to advocate for and demand healthier lifestyles and more prevention of disease for ourselves and those in our communities.”
Under recent laws, the BHeC has been given the authority to regulate the price of medicines.
Wendy Dill, the council’s health policy and regulation project manager, said that input from wholesalers and pharmacies was essential in cutting prices quickly.
Ms Dill said: “Detailed operational data submitted from stakeholders will enable well-crafted and evidence-based long-term solutions.
“I am optimistic that if the current levels of commitment and collaboration are maintained, we will be able to make significant steady strides towards ensuring access to necessary medications for all.
“Jumping into this work in August, I knew that this was a large project over ten years in the making with many moving parts, with pharmacies and wholesalers playing a major part in how quickly we can progress with discovering and implementing solutions.
“I am very pleased with how invested in the success of the drug formulary project the private pharmacies and wholesalers on the island are.
“The health of Bermudians and the pharmaceutical industry in Bermuda are intertwined. I am grateful to work with stakeholders who understand that a win for the people is a win for all.
“George Grundmuller of Phoenix Stores Limited and president of the Pharmacy Owners Association has been incredibly helpful in bringing together all of the members and facilitating and establishing important, ongoing dialogue.
“John Tomlinson, president and CEO of Bermuda General Agency, was unhesitating in his commitment to working with the council to facilitate solutions for Bermuda pharmacy.”
Mr Tomlinson applauded the initiative. He added: “We are uniquely well placed to support the council with efficient and cost-effective pharmaceutical procurement and supply and look forward to working closely with Mrs Dill and the Bermuda Health Council to make this initiative a success.”