BHEC: “Expand Access To Critical Medicines”

January 23, 2023 | 0 Comments

The Bermuda Health Council [Health Council] said they are “working with stakeholders to expand access to critical medicines” and “obtaining essential data from pharmacies and wholesalers on medication use and pricing will improve access to medications to all community members regardless of their economic situation.”

Bermuda Health Council CEO Dr. Ricky Brathwaite said,  “We eventually want to get to a point where the clinical impact of a medication used here in Bermuda is properly aligned to a fair and affordable price for our residents. Just because a drug is really expensive does not make its impact better than a less expensive option.

“Part of the work then is to have medical and scientific experts participate in choosing what medications work best for our local population and assess why we may not be getting the best prices available for these quality medications. Medication price and manufacturing quality vary by country, therefore the more we can tap into quality insights and cost savings methods, the more sustainable our own finances and health can become. We truly thank our partners for their willingness to help in these efforts.

“With that said, while doing better on access to drugs is an important step, we must all continue to advocate for and demand healthier lifestyles and more prevention of disease for ourselves and those in our communities.”

A spokesperson said, “The 2021 Amendment to the Bermuda Health Council Act provides the Health Council with several tools to ensure that Bermuda residents can afford their prescribed medications. Namely, the formation of a Pharmaceutical and Therapeutics Committee to create and maintain a National Formulary, the Health Council’s ability to negotiate the purchase [and regulate the price] of pharmaceutical drugs, data submission requirements for all stakeholders, and the establishment of a national drug code.”

Wendy E. Dill, Health Policy & Regulation of Bermuda Health Council, states, “I am very pleased with how invested in the success of the Drug Formulary project the private pharmacies and wholesalers on the island are. The health of Bermudians and the pharmaceutical industry in Bermuda are intertwined. I am grateful to work with stakeholders who understand that a win for the people is a win for all.

“George Grundmuller, CEO of Phoenix Stores Limited and President of the Pharmacy Owners Association, has been incredibly helpful in bringing together all of the members and facilitating and establishing important, ongoing dialogue. John Tomlinson, President and CEO of BGA, was unhesitating in his commitment to working with the Health Council to facilitate solutions for Bermuda pharmacy.”

John Tomlinson, President and CEO of Bermuda General Agency, said, “BGA is fully aligned with the Health Council to reduce the cost of pharmaceuticals in Bermuda. We are uniquely well placed to support the Health Council with efficient and cost-effective pharmaceutical procurement and supply and look forward to working closely with Mrs. Dill and the Bermuda Health Council to make this initiative a success.”

Mrs. Dill adds, “Jumping into this work in August, I knew that this was a large project over ten years in the making with many moving parts, with pharmacies and wholesalers playing a major part in how quickly we can progress with discovering and implementing solutions.

“Detailed operational data submitted from stakeholders will enable well-crafted and evidence-based long-term solutions. I am optimistic that if the current levels of commitment and collaboration are maintained, we will be able to make significant steady strides towards ensuring access to necessary medications for all.”

The spokesperson said, “Mrs. Dill joined the Bermuda Health Council in August, of 2022 and is leading the complex project work of implementing numerous components of the drug formulary programme.”

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