You could soon save hundreds - if not thousands - of rands on your monthly medicine bills.
This follows an announcement by the Pharmaceutical Society of South Africa (PSSA) yesterday that medicine will soon be sold at cost price across the country
Pharmacists will be selling prescription medicine to the consumer at the price they pay wholesalers, said Keith Johnson, PSSA president. An official professional tariff system will be put in place by which a professional fee will be charged on medicine rather than a profit mark-up.
This means pharmacists will be paid a fixed figure for every item sold. This move is set to drastically change the way in which medicine has been sold.
We have been working on the concept for several years and support has grown. We believe the vast majority of pharmacists are now in support of the principle, said Mr Johnson. The new remuneration system has been accepted by all the roleplayers and the necessity to change is not in dispute. The suggested structure has been received very well at workshops held around the country.
He told The Citizen the new system would, in the long run, benefit pharmacists economically rather than decrease their income.
It was important to break the link between products and remuneration. By doing this the pharmacist will now offer a service that is totally free from potential attraction to supply the most expensive product.
Mr Johnson said the new system would ensure pharmacists are confident in supplying the best products regardless of price.
We are currently busy with a trial run with medical aid schemes to see how the system works. A pilot project will be up and running by June 1 this year in certain pharmacies and we hope to have implementation of the new system by September 1 at the latest. A big concern is to ensure that the pharmacist does not earn less during the changeover.
It had become imperative to stop the rising cost of medicines and pharmacists have been in close negotiation with the Board of Healthcare Funders to come up with an equitable solution.
We firmly believe this is going to benefit everyone. Patients will get cheaper medication, pharmacists will be more professional without losing money and a decrease in medical aid costs can also be expected.
Mr Johnson said the recent developments around the Medicines and Related Substances Control Amendment Act of 1997 and the withdrawal of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers' Association case against government gave new impetus to the PSSA's efforts to get an official policy on a professional tariff.
Source: The Citizen, 8 May 2001