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Ease for prescription pick-ups proposed

Ease for prescription pick-ups proposed

New Zealanders are being asked if they would prefer to be able to pick up most three-month prescriptions at once, rather than making three visits to the pharmacy to pick them up monthly.

PHARMAC and the DHBs think that there could be advantages in the proposal and they are asking people in the community for their views on it over the next few weeks.

PHARMAC Chief Executive Wayne McNee says the move would mean that more people would have to make fewer trips to the pharmacy to collect their medicine. It would make it more convenient for people to get their medicine from the pharmacy by enabling most three-monthly prescriptions to be dispensed at the first visit, rather than in monthly lots as happens now.

“We and other Government bodies have been told that most people do not wish to visit the pharmacy three times to fill one prescription.”

The extra convenience for patients is one of a number of benefits the dispensing changes would bring for health providers, patients and the health sector as a whole, says Wayne McNee.

Another effect of the move would be to reduce the workload of pharmacists so they can devote more time to counselling patients on clinical issues.

PHARMAC is consulting on the proposal, which has the support of all District Health Boards.

Auckland DHB Chief Executive Graeme Edmond, speaking on behalf of all DHBs says the proposal would have benefits for patients, DHBs, pharmacists and the wider health sector.

The proposal would free up around $35 million funding for DHBs to fund additional services in priority areas while improving convenience for patients.

“It is an example of how more funds for health services could be made available while maintaining quality and increasing convenience for patients.”

A number of medicines such as sleeping pills and some types of painkilling drugs would continue to be prescribed and dispensed monthly. PHARMAC’s medical advisory committee, the Pharmacology and Therapeutics Advisory Committee (PTAC), has been consulted to ensure that there are no safety issues.

These and any other issues raised in consultation will be considered before any decision is made.

Graeme Edmond says the DHBs would also monitor any impact on community pharmacies to ensure access is maintained.

Wayne McNee is urging people to write and tell PHARMAC what they think about the proposal.

“The consultation is very important and we do want to hear what people in the community think, particularly patients.”

If you wish to have a say address your comments to Wayne McNee, Chief Executive, PHARMAC, at P O Box 10-254 Wellington or fax 04 460 4995 or email to mailto:jessica.nisbet@pharmac.govt.nz by 5pm Monday 28 April.

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