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Maximum prices to be set for commonly used drugs

Maximum prices will be set for commonly used drugs under new legislation tabled in the House of Assembly this morning.

Tabling amendments to the Bermuda Health Council Amendment Act, health minister Kim Wilson said it heralded “important and overdue changes” to cut the cost of medication.

She said the “largest out of pocket health spending” in the community is on medication and that an investigation by the Bermuda Health Council had found the introduction of a national drug formulary to be “an appropriate means by which drug affordability could be pursued”.

The amendment will lead to a new Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee which will set maximum prices for commonly used medicines.

Ms Wilson said a drug formulary for Bermuda was among the pledges of the Progressive Labour Party’s 2020 election platform and added that the purpose was not to control “the price of every medication sold in Bermuda”.

She said the formulary would cover “common essential medications” such as diabetes and arthritis drugs, as well as “associated products and devices used in medical treatments”.

Ms Wilson said the BHeC would be able to request details on medications from insurers, pharmacies, medical practices, hospitals and or importers.

She added: “Of course, all data required will be bound by the rules of patient confidential and privacy in accordance with privacy legislation and rules.

“Such data will also be used in the setting of regulated and fair pricing for members of the public through a transparent process.”

The legislation will also give the BHeC the power to negotiate on behalf of the island in the procurement of medical products.

Ms Wilson said the BHeC would be able to partner with a local pharmacy or importer to “assist in securing the best possible drug prices for the Bermuda public”.

She added: “It has been said in the past that Bermuda could do much better when it comes to negotiating improved prices out on the international prescription drug market.”

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Published February 19, 2021 at 2:49 pm (Updated February 19, 2021 at 2:49 pm)

Maximum prices to be set for commonly used drugs

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