Jamaica Gleaner / Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton said the National Health Fund’s (NHF) Vital, Essential and Necessary (VEN) drug list is being revamped as part of cost-saving measures.
He said the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) will assist the agency, which falls under his portfolio, to develop a benchmark that guides the purchasing of the requisite quantity of medications to treat ailments.
The minister noted that the NHF currently has more than 1,000 categories of drugs on its VEN list, equating to approximately 60 that treat each ailment for which clients source medication.
Tufton said that with the benchmark, this number is expected to be reduced to between six and eight categories per ailment, pointing out that “we could save as much as 25 per cent on the cost of drugs”.
Additionally, the minister said the NHF has been instructed to expand its pharmacy outlets to further boost client-service delivery.
He was speaking at the NHF’s inaugural open day at the Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston on Friday.
Meanwhile, Tufton announced that a national health insurance policy is to be introduced next year.
He indicated that the NHF will play a pivotal role in the policy’s development, adding that details are expected to be unveiled by the 2018-19 fiscal year.
The NHF’s open day was used to acknowledge top-performing employees and showcase the agency’s achievements.