Squabble on out-of-stock medication refunds ‘banalising’ healthcare - AD

Alternattiva Demokratika Chairman Michael Briguglio accuses Labour and PN of ‘banalising’ healthcare with squabble over out-of-stock medication refunds.

Alternattiva Demokratika Chairman Michael Briguglio and secretary general Ralph Cassar on the steps of Mater Dei
Alternattiva Demokratika Chairman Michael Briguglio and secretary general Ralph Cassar on the steps of Mater Dei

Alternattiva Demokratika Chairman Michael Briguglio has one again taken both parties to task over their political bickering - this time over the manner in which the government would refund out-of-stock (OOS) medication purchased from private pharmacies.

Briguglio was speaking a few feet aware from the entrance of Mater Dei hospital where, flanked by AD spokesperson and secretary general Ralph Cassar, he affirmed AD's pledge that once in parliament, it would help ensure lower prices for medicinal products.

Briguglio stressed that while AD is committed to a state healthcare that provides free and universal healthcare, and insisted that "in view of the demographic changes leading to an ageing population, it should be ensured that the health care system remains sustainable."

He also insisted that the national health care system should be based on the values of solidarity and social cohesion, and slammed the Labour Party's proposals to bring on board the private sector by saying that "the privatisation of the health care system not only sustains inequalities but also undermines the value of inclusiveness."

He also insisted that "there should be a health center open for twenty four hours in every district to provide for primary and emergency care"

Briguglio also said that the pharmacy of your choice (POYC) scheme "should be extended so that patients benefiting from this scheme are not faced with the difficulty of out of stock medicine, and patients are granted the right to collect medicines from any pharmacy instead of the present centralized system where Government procures the lot itself. Government should refund pharmacies according to just and established pricing".

As regards prices of medicinal products not provided by the state, Briguglio said stressed that the importation of medicines should be reformed so as to reduce the price of medicines.

He also said that government should consider involving itself more in the importation of essential medicine should the need arise.

"This should help to ensure the affordability of prices if there are market distortions, since government can benefit from economies of scale whilst enhancing competition".

In his own address, AD Secretary General Ralph Cassar called for the introduction of licenses for the sale of non-prescription medication. "This system is successfully employed in other countries such as England, Italy and Germany".

He added that the licensing of pharmacies should be reformed so that additional licenses are issued for the opening of new pharmacies in localities.

He said that currently, the licensing permits for medicines are limited to the ratio of one for every 2500 persons and the issuing of a new license can only be sustained following the closure of an existing pharmacy.

"This is leading to a situation where there are more pending applications for licensing than existing pharmacies," Cassar stressed.

He maintained that this limitation is "certainly not feasible for localities which attract a substantial number of tourists and hinders rather than encourages competition and innovation."

He said that this "liberalization" of the sector should help the consumer to get a more efficient service.  "Simultaneously, there should be a clause that assures a minimum amount of pharmacies in every locality.

"There should also be a scheme whereby a pharmacy or pharmacies remain open at every hour of the day," he concluded.

Provision of free medicines is one of the pillars of the national health service and must be efficient, any failure in this regard indicates failure of the system. Provision of free drugs is the life blood of patients requiring medication on a daily basis, so patients are immediately adversely affected and immediately angry.
I sometime wonder how iodiotic can politicians be. This out of stock business can easily be solved unless the government does it on purpose to save money. The solution is to supply the 2 month stock at the end of day 28 rather than day 55. Thus, the patient would have a 28 day stock on hand if medicines run out of stock! Afterall, govt pharmacies used to supply 3 months supply of medicines not 2 like the POYC. Why complicate thigs?
Now everyone is in favour of "economy of scales", formerly known as bulk buying.