Minister Ottley takes next step to improve access to affordable prescription medication

June 22, 2021 1:30 am

The Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor, Omar Ottley has recently signed off on a draft legislation that will allow for measures to be taken by Social & Health Insurances SZV to improve the quality and minimize stock issues of prescribed medication, in addition to reducing the purchasing costs.

Once the draft legislation is officially approved by Parliament, the necessary projects can be implemented later this year by SZV, together with the Pharmacists Association Sint Maarten (PAS) and the Department of Public Health.

?In comparison to the neighboring islands, and Europe, the cost of pharmaceuticals on Sint Maarten are high. It?s important that we act now to address these issues and I?m happy to have signed off on this draft legislation that will not only improve our access to affordable medication, but also the quality of medication being prescribed. Our entire health care system will benefit from this, including our public health funds.?- Minister of VSA, Mr. Omar Ottley

The cost savings will be welcomed by SZV, as the health insurance funds have been negatively affected by the high costs of medications for several years now. Director of SZV, Mr. Glen A. Carty commented; ?SZV has been preparing and waiting for some time now to act on these changes but could not do so without Government?s full support. This is one of the many small steps that have been taken to secure quality and affordable health care for our insured and protect our health care funds. On behalf of the project team, I thank the Minister and our partners for bringing us closer to the finish line.?

The draft legislation will also make way for various SZV projects, such as digital prescriptions and medication tracking. These projects will enable health care providers to keep better records to manage stock, gain transparency in how medication is prescribed, prevent overdose, detect contra-indications, indicate allergy alerts and better guide patients on how to use medications. With these projects, SZV and its partners can better oversee the costs and quality of medications being prescribed and distributed, as part of its role to ensure the sustainability of the health insurance funds.