Saturday 31 October, 2020

Barbadians paying too much for medication

Have you noticed an increase in the cost of your prescription medication?

"The two per cent levy or tax applies to drugs that are being provided by the pharmacies as well and I believe that Government needs to look back at that."

That was the call from Derek Catlyn of the Barbados Pharmaceutical Society, who states that the National Social Responsibility Levy intended to help fund healthcare in Barbados, is actually creating more financial strain for Barbadians.

He lamented that pharmacies "keep getting correspondence from the Barbados Drug Service with these increases."

Mr Caitlin told Loop News that the levy has resulted in prescription drugs being placed in higher tax categories.

"Even though patients are no longer getting their medication free and they have to pay the dispensation fee, with this two per cent levy it raised the price of the medication to higher tax brackets. 

"For instance, if a patient paid seven dollars for a particular eye drop, now they are paying around $12.

"This is something that other pharmacists have mentioned to me. I even thought at first that I had an incorrect price for some medications, but then I realised that was the cause."

He is urging "Government to look back at that," since persons are now paying more to get the medicine needed for better health:

"If you are looking to generate additional funds to provide healthcare for the average Barbadian, how are you going to tax the same medication you are providing for them?"

And Mr Caitlin does not intend to just leave this matter up to chance, he plans to request a meeting with the Minister of Health early this year to address this matter. 

Finance Minister Christopher Sinckler announced during the 2016 Budgetary Proposals that the National Social Responsibility Levy will go towards financing the public health system and sanitation services in Barbados. 

He said:

“It is the intention of the Government to place the resources garnered from this levy directly towards the financing of critical aspects of public health care in Barbados, particularly, but not limited to, provisioning at our main general hospital, the QEH."

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