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Dispensing change costs elderly

Dispensing change costs elderly

The Government's rushed decision to switch back to three-monthly dispensing will mean the waste of millions of dollars of drugs, says Dr Lynda Scott.

"The Residential Care Association estimates the wastage of the drugs will be around $35m.

"I agree with the Association because, as a geriatrician, I remember removing shopping bags of unused drugs from old people's homes that had gone to waste, before dispensing was changed to one-monthly in 1996.

"This attempt to save money at all costs is a knee-jerk reaction to the large and growing combined district health board deficit.

"Residential care facilities will be paying an extra $7.5m a year in aged care costs and our elderly will be paying for that.

"In Parliament today Minister of Health Annette King couldn't answer why the community and pharmacies will be paying these big cost increases, so she handed the blame over to Pharmac and the Ministry of Health - two agencies she is responsible for. "Three-monthly dispensing has been a rushed and ill-considered decision which doesn't take into account the, safety or aged care needs of people throughout the country. Any money the Government saves will be far outweighed by the costs to communities, our elderly and other patients," says Dr Scott.

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