Categorized | National News

PM: NPDP Is Financially Draining

Although it was highly-touted programme of the Ingraham administration, Prime Minister Perry Christie says he plans to review the national prescription drug plan (NPDP).

The NPDP was implemented in 2010.

The programme was designed to assist Bahamians with chronic non-communicable diseases by alleviating payments for certain groups.
Phase I of the plan includes free medications and certain medical supplies to four specific groups including National Insurance Pensioners, NIB Invalids, children under 18 or under 25 if the latter were full-time students and Bahamian citizens over 65 years of age who are not eligible to receive NIB pensions either as a result of insufficient contributions for a contributory benefit or, have more than adequate resources for a non-contributory assistance.
Medications covered under the plan is currently used to treat 11 CNCDs such as arthritis, asthma, breast cancer, diabetes mellitus, glaucoma, high cholesterol, hypertension, ischaemic heart disease, major depression, prostate cancer and psychosis.
While speaking at the installation ceremony for the Progressive Liberal Party’s (PLP) New Providence Women’s Branch on Sunday, the prime minister indicated his concern over the programme.

“The prescription drug plan that the FNM put in place is costing the country $9 million a year,” Prime Minister Christie said.

“It is a drain on the national fund. It still doesn’t work effectively in the sense that in the islands you have two cupboards one where the government is giving you the medicine and the other is when National Insurance is giving you the medicine. We have not found a way to merge them so you are buying two sets of things but it is costing $9 million a year. Add to that the $100 million the government is spending on premiums for public officers.”

The prime minister said this is why his government is working towards National Health Insurance (NHI).
NHI was originally crafted by the first Christie administration.
When the NHI scheme comes on stream it will require the full participation of all employers and their employees who will have to pay to enjoy the government-introduced benefit.
NHI is a form of social health insurance, which uses the principles of fund pooling and risk sharing to provide equity in access to care.
Government officials say individuals will pay an “affordable” amount on a consistent basis and in return will be able to have their healthcare needs provided for, regardless of cost.
It is envisioned that this ‘cradle to the grave’ national healthcare coverage will cover persons who are currently excluded from private insurance plans such as individuals with pre-existing illnesses, newborn babies and those over 65.
“At the very least, I want to have before my second anniversary all of the facts before the government so that we are able to make a decision on a cost effective business whether we are able to proceed with it and in what form,” Mr. Christie said.

“We are about to introduce a mini hospital in Abaco and a mini hospital in Exuma and committed to building one imminently in Eleuthera. These mini hospitals will provide up to secondary care meaning minor surgical, x-rays and broken limbs etc. This means that they have to be staffed, which means that the health budget will be astronomical fine to it. And the country cannot continue to do those things without having people contribute it.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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