Govt encourages generic drug use: manufacturer

23 November 2010 - 19:03 By Times LIVE

Government has been applauded for its new dispensing fee structure for pharmacists promulgated by a generic drugs manufacturer who says the move is a win-win for drug manufacturers, patients and pharmacists.

Paul Anley, CEO of Pharma Dynamics says it throws open the door for a greater demand for generic medicines in SA, and will also improve the viability of retail pharmacies and secure access to medicine in more remote areas.

“The fee structure provides a higher mark-up on less expensive medication, which will incentivise pharmacists to substitute with a generic equivalent, which is in the patient’s best interest.

“Similar models are commonplace in both Europe and North America where incentive schemes are used to encourage pharmacists to choose cost effective generic medication. This results in far higher market share for generics against their originator equivalents, and in doing so also saves the state billions in healthcare spend.”

Anley estimates that in SA by using generics consumers are saving in excess of R2-billion annually and that the more aggressive use of generics could double that figure.

“While the dispensing fee on more expensive products is no longer capped – but instead has been increased according to the tiered system – it makes it more viable for pharmacists to be in business both in terms of their professional fee for pharmacists and return on capital for holding the medication in stock.

“It is important to note that the regulations stipulate the maximum dispensing fee that can be charged by a pharmacist. Individual pharmacists may continue to adopt their own fee structures as long as they don’t charge more than that which has been specified in the bill.

“By law, pharmacies are now also required to display the dispensing fees which they have adopted, to ensure patients are fully informed. This will encourage healthy competition among retail pharmacies and consumers will be the ultimate winners.”

Anley notes that many medical aids have adopted reimbursement policies based on the existing dispensing fees, with the result that patients will be asked by pharmacists to pay the difference between the old and new fees.

“It is always important to ensure patients benefit the most and in the wake of the changes, we are calling on medical aids to review their reimbursement policies and reference pricing with the new dispensing fees in mind,” he says.

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