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Some Pay More Under Pharmac Dispensing Proposal

Some Patients Will Pay More Under Pharmac Dispensing Proposal

The Pharmacy Guild says reported comments by Pharmac CEO Wayne McNee appear to confirm some patients will pay more for their medicines if Pharmac’s proposed move to three monthly dispensing goes ahead.

Guild President, Richard Heslop, says one of the issues around the Pharmac proposal was that decisions on appropriate frequencies of dispensing should be the preserve of clinicians such as the patient’s doctor and pharmacist.

“The Minister of Health has confirmed that the ability of the prescriber to determine the period of supply remains. However, when Pharmac was asked what would result if a doctor decided a patient’s best interests would be served by monthly dispensing of a medicine on the three monthly list the answer was that the medicine would be deemed to be unsubsidised, with the clear implication that the patient would bear the full cost.”

Mr Heslop said reported media comments today by Mr McNee did little to clarify the issue.

“He seems to be saying that if a doctor decides your medicine needs to be dispensed on a monthly, rather than three monthly basis then that medicine becomes unsubsidised, UNLESS the patient goes back to the doctor each month. If this is what he means, it makes a nonsense of the primary healthcare strategy and increases barriers to healthcare access. Why should patients have to pay three times to go to the doctor in order to qualify for subsidised medicines? We don't think this passes the 'convenience' test extolled by Pharmac as part of the ‘selling’ of the bulk dispensing proposal.”

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