Health Council Publishes Drug Pricing Tool

February 22, 2018 | 0 Comments

The Bermuda Health Council has reformed how the public is able look up information about prescription drug pricing, publishing a consumer guidance tool that shows the prices of commonly used drugs on the island.

A spokesperson said, “This tool can be found on our website. To find the suggested total cost for a drug, we have provided the lowest price per unit [e.g. per pill or milliliter] and the lowest dispensing fee on the island.

“The total cost suggested is found by multiplying the unit price by the number of units needed and then adding in the lowest dispensing fee.”

“The total price of drugs include the landed costs of these select prescription drugs in Bermuda, plus a 25% margin increase for the importer, and an additional 25% increase to account for any price fluctuations in the market. The suggested dispensing fee of $15 is the lowest confirmed dispensing fee for a full-service pharmacy in Bermuda.

“All of these values were determined based on local research and meetings with the Chief Medical Officer, Pharmacy Council, local importers, the Pharmacy Owner’s Association, insurers, and the use of claims data. Consultation for this phase of the project began in August 2017 and builds upon multiple years of broader prescription drug formulary consultations.

“Although this tool does not currently include all prescription drugs, it is derived from prescription medications that the World Health Organization recommends for every country. The list has also gone through initial reviews by local healthcare stakeholders.”

Dispensing-Fee-Calculation

“As the Health Council seeks to improve the health system, we will continuously look at how to make healthcare more accessible. This includes reducing various consumer costs such as options to reduce one of the largest outof-pocket costs to Bermuda’s residents, the cost of prescription drugs. Through this specific effort, we are providing open information to all consumers about what is available in the pharmaceutical drug market.”

Data analyst Tara Hines said, “We encourage all consumers to look at what they are currently paying for their medications and then use our guidance to see what a fair-market price would look like. We have heard from many of you, especially our most vulnerable, who sometimes have to make the difficult choice to forgo medication.

“We are optimistic that continuing this conversation will lead to coverage for prescription drugs, for those who may not have it currently, like those on HIP or who are uninsured, or may not have enough coverage, like seniors on FutureCare. An objective is to increase access to medications and bring about affordability for everyone, as we know pharmaceuticals are often an important life-improving intervention.”

Dr. Ricky C. Brathwaite, Director Health Economics, said, “In economics, perfect information is a feature of perfect competition. With perfect information in a market, a consumer like each one of us, would know all of the prices up front, understand the quality of the product we buy in detail and have the data to accurately measure how the purchase is going to affect our quality of life.

“Having perfect competition in healthcare is very hard, but being hard should not stop you from having the information you need to make a choice on how you spend money. The goal? Better information leading to better competition and access for all of Bermuda’s residents within the prescription drug market.”

“If you have paid more for your drugs than what we have suggested, please show our price list, located at bhec.bm/rx, to your prescribing physician or pharmacist and have a discussion about what goes into the cost of your drugs.

“Also, feel free to contact us by calling 292-6420 or emailing healthcouncil@bhec.bm and let us know that you are paying more for your drugs.”

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