Hospital offers cut-price non-brand medicines

| 17/12/2015 | 16 Comments

Cayman News Service(CNS): Patients at the George Town hospital pharmacy will soon be able to fill prescriptions for $4.50 if they choose generic, cut-price versions of the medications they are taking. The Health Services Authority described the cheaper drug offer as an “alternative prescriptions option” that identifies a generic alternative in all prescription categories, in accordance with the World Health Organisation’s essential medication list guidelines.

“With this alternative prescription option, the HSA is ensuring that patients have access to medication that will meet the same recognised standard of care as the equivalent branded prescriptions but at a much more affordable price,” officials said.

The generic drugs will be available to all patients, as long as they are prescribed by their doctor, and the HSA said it had been working with local private physicians to ensure their awareness of these cost-effective alternatives.

“We must all work together to ensure the most effective care for our patients and this new option will further allow us to do so,” said Dr Delroy Jefferson, HSA Medical Director and Pharmacy Manager. “We have communicated to the private sector these new options so that they can prescribe whenever possible.”

Colin Medford, Chief Pharmacist at the HSA, said it would allow the majority of patients to access the medications they require.

“The $4.50 Alternative Prescription option is a list of generic medication with the same active ingredients as the brand name medication with the same risks and benefits. In addition to costing our patients less, it is anticipated that this implementation will help to improve our delivery of health services to everyone,” he added.

The low-cost alternative prescription was described as another initiative to help with payment collections at the hospital, where it recently introduce a requirement for upfront payment for all medicines in an effort to tackle the HSA’s bad debt problem while maintaining access to high-quality healthcare for all residents and visitors.

Caymanian patients requiring financial assistance are encouraged to contact the Needs Assessment Unit immediately by calling 946-0024 or visiting their office at 55 South Church Street, in the Aqua Mall on the second floor, next to Guy Harvey’s Restaurant.

See full list of $4.50 Alternative Prescription drugs

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Category: Health, health and safety

Comments (16)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Here take this drug it will calcify your arteries, cause cancer and you can bleed to death or have a stroke, but at least you will not have a cough.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I’m waiting to see the queues that will stretch all the way to West Bay! Oh well, it won’t last long – if something sounds too good to be true, etc. …

  3. Knot S Smart says:

    Can I use my Care Pay Card to cover the cost of my prescription?…

  4. Anonymous says:

    Are these parallel goods?

    • Anonymous says:

      Are you more interested in the engineered profits of Big Pharma than an efficient health care system for the Cayman Islands? Anyway, they are not parallel imports. They are generic substitutes (ie exactly the same medicines without the brand price uplift).

  5. Anonymous says:

    Can somebody who knows about drugs (i.e. a pharmacist) kindly explain the difference – if any – between a commercially offered drug and a “generic” drug? Thanks.

    • Anonymous says:

      When the patent runs out for a drug, then other companies can start selling the drug, usually at a lot lower the price.

      This sounds great, but the other companies have to reverse engineer the medication, which can lead to differences to the named brand. Some of these differences can be:
      Strength, the generic from have be up to 50% weaker to 50% stronger.
      Bioavailability, the named brand is usually tested extensively to ensure it delivers the drugs as optimal as possible, so there may spread the uptake over time, or add things to improve the body in digesting the drug. Generics will not be the same.
      With some drugs this may not make a difference, but in others that have a narrow therapeutic effect, it can mean the generic is far less effective.
      Also the brand drug will have been extensively tested in its current formulation. The generics need far less testing.

      So there is an upside (cheaper, so available to more people) and a downside (maybe less effective).

      At the end of the day it depends on the maker of the generic, and the type of drug.

      • Garfield says:

        Which pharmaceutical company do you work for? Obviously not a generic one. Generics have been very successful in Canada for over a decade and see no reason why they cannot be in Cayman with all of the excellent pharmacists on island. Ways have to be found to reduce medical costs on island.

        • Anonymous says:

          Garfield generic drugs manufactured by reputable Canadian companies and approved by Canadian regulatory bodies have been available in Cayman since the 70’s. What concerns some of us in the medical field that the price of $4.50 suggest that these drugs are not made by reputable first world Generic companies and therefore we have concerns about effectiveness in treatment

      • Robert says:

        8: 47 , your an idiot , where the hell did you get that absolutely wrong info ( dont tell me the internet , Right ) This info is FALSE and complete Bull***t .

      • Anonymous says:

        I would love to know how and where you got your pharmaceutical / law degree from. When a patent runs out, the information that made it patentable in the 1st place becomes public knowledge so generic companies are not reverse engineering anything.

      • Just Commentin' says:

        Reallyyy? Most of what you imply is based on misinformation or partial truths.

        Firstly, a lot would depends on the regulatory framework under which the generic is approved. In the USA generics are required to meet stringent standards that help ensure that the generic is as effective and safe and the brand name. Under the FDA the generics must demonstrate bioequivalence to the brand name.

        interesting Factoid: To mitigate the loss of market share to generics, many brand name drugs are sold by their brand name manufacturers to third party generic vendors for distribution as generics. [Of course you knew that…right?]

        “50% weaker to 50% stronger”? Under the watch of the FDA or Health Canada, that statement is simply a lie.

        The generic manufacturers don’t exactly “reverse engineer the medication” the way a shady pirate company would try to do with an iPad clone. The chemical makeup of brand name drugs is hardly a secret. The generic producers must simply deliver the same exact formula that is bioequivalent to the reference drug within a fairly rigid scope of variance.

        Oh, FYI: Over 85% of prescription in the USA are filled using generics. Of course you knew that, too…right? [Wink-wink, grin]

        Where the issue becomes a problem is if the Cayman HSA is allowing the import of generics manufactured in or distributed from a country that lacks a strong regulatory framework.

        Bottom line: If your generic is produced under a robust regulatory framework, you may feel assured that your med is A-OK. Over four out of five American prescription users can’t be wrong.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Na mon, mi prefer to pay top dolla fe mi high grade!

  7. Anonymous says:

    What is new about this , the generic options on drugs existed at the hospital Pharmacy from the early 1970’s.
    How is it possible to sell generics for a fixed price of $4.50 per prescription certainly the cost of reliable generic drugs vary, or are these drugs all coming from India and do not have FDA or UK authorities approval.
    Hope this is not a continuation of some of these drugs dispensed locally recently that crumble when being unpackaged for consumption preventing the patient from getting the proper dose.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Cheap drugs! Cha mon! Sign me up

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