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Prescription Charge Dispute Needs Sorting

20 August 2008

Prescription Charge Dispute Needs Sorting

The rapidly escalating row about prescription charges between pharmacists and district health boards needs to be sorted out before it gets to the point of legal action, says New Zealand First’s health spokesperson Barbara Stewart.

“The Hawke’s Bay District Health Board is reportedly preparing to take legal action against pharmacies in its area which are adding an extra dollar to prescription charges in breach of their contracts.

“This sounds like a total waste of taxpayer funds which would be better spent sorting out exactly why this situation has arisen and what can constructively be done to resolve it.

“Many pharmacists now charge $1 extra on prescriptions to cover increased costs not included in health board contracts. Patients who choose not to pay the $1 can find themselves paying more if extra services such as checking prescriptions with GPs are necessary.

“Pharmacists’ contracts with district health boards are due to be renegotiated in 2010 but with the possibility of costly legal action wasting more scarce health funds obviously this dispute must be resolved before then,” said Mrs Stewart.


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