Creating a delicate balance
THE JAMAICA Association of Private Pharmacy Owners (JAPPO) joins the Pharmaceutical Society of Jamaica in celebrating yet another Pharmacy Week. Pharmacy is always a delicate balancing of the professional and commercial features. While the professional aspect of dispensing medications and counselling our patients remains the heart of the business, the matter of financially investing in the health care of our people is a very serious one.
The business of pharmacy requires interfacing and maintaining good business relationships with stakeholders such as our suppliers, insurance partners, employees and most importantly our clients.
With the International Monetary Fund watching closely over our economy and the dollar sliding continuously, the cost of medications has increased and, unfortunately, these costs have been passed on to our consumers. It is, therefore, challenging for customers who have to dig a little deeper into their pockets each month to finance their regular supply of medications.
Some customers have resorted to buying smaller quantities, not being compliant with taking their medications, or not taking them at all. One client recently lamented, “I am going to stop taking my pills, I cannot afford it.” The entire prescription of four items cost less than $2,000 with the National Health Fund card, but finding it was a struggle for this unemployed lady.
Pharmacy owners in Jamaica, for almost 20 years, have partnered with the Government of Jamaica to serve the elderly of the population by providing drugs at a minimal cost of $40 per item for several chronic illnesses. At present, JAPPO is in discussions with the Government for another partnership to allow government-issued prescriptions for all public-sector patients to be dispensed in private pharmacies across the island. This would mean less waiting time at the hospitals, health centres and Drug Serv pharmacies, thereby allowing pharmacists in these facilities to focus on a more clinical role in caring for in-patients through medication therapy management. This partnership could reduce length of hospital stay and readmissions, while improving medication access and compliance.
JAPPO, through the over 350 private pharmacies in Jamaica, is committed to continue investing in the health of the citizens and the provision of employment for our pharmacists and allied workers. For this Pharmacy Week, pharmacy owners across Jamaica join with our pharmacists in our commitment to fulfil the theme: ‘Advancing Sustainable Development Goals for a Healthier You!’
SHEREEN DAWKINS COX