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Govt misleads over dispensing change

Govt misleads over dispensing change

"The Government and Pharmac have been blatantly misleading in their plan to bring back the three-monthly dispensing regime that is opposed by pharmacists throughout the country, says National Health Spokeswoman Dr Lynda Scott.

In Parliament today Dr Scott cited a press release by the Government's drug buying agency Pharmac which said the strategy to bring back stat dispensing 'has the full support of District Health Boards'. "Members of district health boards were not informed about these dispensing changes - which will close pharmacies and cost patients more - when they were negotiating new contracts with pharmacists.

"A report today shows members of the Nelson-Marlborough District Health Board say the process was 'underhand' and 'unfair'. There are many members of boards who had no idea about this change, which is alarming given that DHBs will be managing pharmacy contracts.

"At the same time the Government is washing its hands of the stat dispensing proposal. Associate Health Minister Damien O'Connor is complaining that pharmacies will go to the wall, and blaming Pharmac, when it is his Government's own proposal.

"In a further hand washing exercise Associate Health Minister Ruth Dyson told Parliament today that the Minister was not responsible for Pharmac or any pharmacies closing.

"Pharmacies will close and patients are the ones who will suffer. They will lose services and have to pay higher charges for prescriptions because they will have to pay full price if they need their drugs more than once every three months," says Dr Lynda Scott.

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