Price control margins for pharmacies end today

Tue, Jan 17th 2023, 08:23 AM

The price control margins agreed to between the government and pharmacists to bring economic relief to Bahamians purchasing medications fall away as of today. Bahamas Pharmaceutical Association President Shantia McBride confirmed that individual pharmacies will now provide their own economic relief to customers as they see fit.

In November, after weeks at loggerheads, pharmacists and the government agreed to temporary margins of a maximum markup of 20 percent for wholesalers and 40 percent for retailers for all price-controlled medicines.

As of today, McBride said, pharmacies will revert to previous margins set in 1977 of 25 percent for wholesalers and 50 percent for retailers.

"The amendments that we agreed to end on the seventeenth, so we will go back to our regular price control regulations that we had in place. In terms of savings, each individual pharmacy may have their own system in place. If patients feel as if they need more of a savings when they go to their pharmacist, they are open and willing to see how you can save in the best way. They are some persons, their pay check determines what they can get and when they can get it, so coming in and speaking with us on that and how to maintain can help," McBride told Guardian Business yesterday.

"We are pharmacists, but sometimes we are financial planners to help you with your budget. We may see that some of your medication can be combined into one, so you can speak to your physician to get you on some combination that would allow you to buy one pill instead of two. So all of this is within our strategic plan with government on how to provide economic relief through patient education."

The end to the temporary relief comes as prices continue to surge for just about all consumables in The Bahamas.

Minister for Economic Affairs Michael Halkitis did not respond to Guardian Business inquiries yesterday when asked if the government had considered an extension to its price control relief measures, given the continued pressure of inflation on many Bahamians.

Asked yesterday if her association had

discussed an extension of the economic relief measures, McBride said, "We had a meeting with government about our experience during the time frame and for any feedback that we can give them. There was no discussion in reference to extension, that was not the immediate conversation, it was more for feedback and discussing what took place during that time. They indicated that they spoke to price control and they received positive feedback from pharmacies that we were compliant. We also indicated that we had fluid dialogue in reference to the inspections and how the amendments were conducted at that time."

McBride said for now, pharmacists will turn their focus toward patient education to encourage a healthier population that requires less medication.

"We know there is a need for a decrease in the noncommunicable diseases in the nation, so now we are going on to patient care and how to prevent these diseases," she said.

"Each pharmacy has its own way to provide economic relief. Individuals can speak one on one with their pharmacist to see how they can save, or the ways they can go about monitoring and doing their medication management... to maybe come off their medications and become healthier. So we're now going into dialogue and our plans for that, not just sticking to economic relief, but also patient education."

The price control amendments that impact grocers remain in place until April, although it is unclear if grocers ever implemented those changes.

The post Price control margins for pharmacies end today appeared first on The Nassau Guardian.

The post Price control margins for pharmacies end today appeared first on The Nassau Guardian.

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