Tami Francis, Project Manager for the National Prescription Drug Plan, (right) answers questions following a town meeting held in Marsh Harbour, Abaco, Tuesday, February 9, 2010. Developers worked on The Plan for three years. (BIS photo/Patrick Hanna)
Harbour, Abaco, Bahamas - The National Prescription Drug Plan will provide free
medications for 11 chronic, non-communicable diseases to 35,000 Bahamians in
its initial stage, Tami Francis, Drug Plan Project Manager said Tuesday.
said eight million dollars has been “set aside’ by officials of the National
Insurance Board for Phase I of The Plan.
physicians and other healthcare professionals attending a mid-morning town meeting
on the island of Abaco, Mrs Francis said The Plan will be rolled out in several
phases by mid-2010 beginning with Phase I which will cater to NIB Pensioners
(those persons currently receiving the Retirement Pension as well as the
Old-Age Non-Contributory Pension); NIB Invalids (those persons receiving both
the invalidity benefit as well as the assistance) and children under the age of
18 and young adults under the age of 25 who are full-time students.
Phase of the Plan will cover NIB contributors (employed and self-employed
persons); voluntary contributory persons; indigent groups not covered in the
First Phase and persons in government institutions.
Phase I of
The Plan will provide free medications to those persons qualifying as such. A
rate of one per cent (half per cent employer; half per cent employer) will be
added on to the current National Insurance contribution rate for those persons
who are contributors.
officials will coordinate benefits with private insurance companies for those
persons who have private health insurance, while monies from a Government Grant
will be used to assist those persons considered “indigent”.
the major chronic, non-communicable diseases negatively impacting the quality
of life for many Bahamians have been accounted for in The Plan. These include
arthritis, asthma, breast cancer, diabetes, glaucoma, high cholesterol, major
depression, hypertension, ischaemic heart disease, prostate cancer and
said in order for persons to benefit from Phase I of The Plan, they must fall
within the first three groups, and their particular chronic, non-communicable
disease must be certified by a registered medical practitioner.
170 drugs used to combat the 11 chronic, non-communicable diseases will be
available once The Plan is “rolled out”.
prescription drugs chosen by the Benefits Review Committee were selected based
on effectiveness, safety, approval for use in Developed Countries and costs,”
Mrs Francis said.
Committee also recommended maximum dosages and supplies per month so that
doctors will be able to monitor compliance behaviour and ensure that persons
are properly managing their conditions,” Mrs Francis added.
said plan members will be presented with a booklet that will outline the
Formulary (list of drugs) “so that when that person goes to the doctor and
drugs are prescribed, patient and doctor would have access to the list of drugs
available in The Plan.”
said public and private pharmacies will be contracted as providers to the
Pharmacy Network for The Plan. Private pharmacies, she said, will receive
payment within seven days of the provision of services.
The Plan, administered by the National Insurance Board, will utilize a “strong”
IT system to manage membership, drug stock flows, claims and timely payments