Pharmacy funding changes to save cash

Last updated 12:24 15/08/2014

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Changes to the way community pharmacies dispense medication is hoped to alleviate financial pressures on the Waikato District Health Board.

Over the past two years the health board has incremented changes in the funding structure to all 76 community pharmacies in the Waikato.

The scheme now funds based on the level of care and support a patient needs.

Midland Community Pharmacy Group chief executive Catherine Knapton said as the Ministry of Health pushed to keep more people out of hospital and cared for in the home the pressures of funding expensive pharmaceutical drugs would become a concern.

"It is not just the cost of drugs to the patient but also the cost of disposal of those drugs - it is not just as simple as throwing those in the bin."

In a presentation given to the Waikato Community and Public Health Advisory Committee meeting on Wednesday it explained how the new system would try to limit waste and support patients to comply with all their pharmaceutical needs. It also identified patients with repeat scripts as needing less support and therefore a pharmacy would receive a lower rate of funding for those scripts dispensed.

The purposes of the changes were to identify which patients were either not taking prescribed medications or cherry picking which medications they would and would not have filled.

Midlands Health Network chief executive John Macaskill-Smith said the system was flawed.

"I think the greatest flaw about this whole programme is that general practice was not brought to the table at all."

His concern highlighted the fact general practice had no way to track which medications patients had taken.

Despite the funding model showing clear savings a review of the national system was ranked 8 out of 10 by Deloitte for its organisational complexity.

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- Waikato Times


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