Doctors urged to prescribe effective and affordable drugs
September 24, 2010
Doctors urged to prescribe effective and affordable drugs

This country’s Minister of Health and the Environment, Dr. Douglas Slater, is appealing to physicians here to prescribe drugs to patients that are effective, suitable, but affordable.{{more}}

Addressing doctors and pharmacists at the SVG Pharmacy and Therapeutic Committee Seminar at the Methodist Church Hall last Saturday evening, Slater said if all physicians remember this advice, he believes that it will redound to good practice of medicine and economics.

He said this measure would ease the financial burden of both patients and the State.

The health minister explained that the State may budget $2 million for pharmaceuticals, and by the ninth month (in the year), the budget is used up. Approximately 20 per cent of the national budget is allocated to the health sector annually.

Giving an assessment of the use of drugs in St.Vincent and the Grenadines, Slater said the average person goes to a physician expecting to get some form of medication.

“If even they don’t need it and you counsel them, showing them why they don’t need it, they don’t feel well treated,” said Slater.

The minister, who has indicated that he will not be contesting the next general elections, said unfortunately some physicians are pressured by patients to give medication.

“We all know that medications do cost a lot of money and their misuse can cause a lot of ill health and, therefore, it is incumbent that all of us, those of us who are practitioners, those of us who are administrators, we should understand the significance of rational, effective and efficient use of pharmaceuticals.”

The minister used the opportunity to warn the public that irrational drug use comes with significant economic implications, which trickles down to tax payers.

Slater also used the opportunity to congratulate the more than 30 physicians attending the seminar for taking time out of their busy schedules to attend the event.

He described the seminar as one of the most important activities that was being staged by health care workers outside of their normal work.

In her opening address, Medical Director of the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH), Dr.Simone Keizer-Beache, told the audience that she hopes they find the programme informative. She also expressed thanks to the members of the Pharmacy and Therapeutic Committee (PTC), which she chairs, for their hard work and dedicatioin.

She mainly used her presentation to explain the role of the PTC.

Keizer-Beache said the PTC was launched in January of 2008 and was established to develop policies and programmes, conduct research to promote the safe, rational and cost effective use of drugs in order to improve the performance of the Committee and the health of the population.

The PTC, said Keizer-Beache, aims to develop a formulary of accepted drugs for use at the MCMH, to serve as an advisory group to the MCMH Pharmacists on matters pertaining to the choice of drugs to be stocked, to evaluate clinical data concerning drugs requested for use at the MCMH, to add and delete from the list of drugs accepted for use in the hospital, to prevent unnecessary duplication in the stock of the same basic drug and its preparation, and to make recommendations concerning drugs to be stocked at nursing units and other services.

The committee also has a mandate to make recommendations or assist in the formulation of programmes designed to meet the needs of the professional staff.

Keizer-Beache said the former Drug Purchasing Committee (DPC) was reconfigured to form the PTC in an effort to better meet the pharmaceutical needs of clients.

The members of the PTC are the Medical Director; the Chief Pharmacist; the Central Medical Stores Manager; representatives from the various departments of the MCMH: Surgery, Paediatrics, OB/GYN (Obstetrics and Gynecology), Internal Medicine and Psychiatry; the Medical Officer of Health; the Senior Pharmacist at the MCMH; Senior Pharmacists throughout the Ministry of Health; the Drug Inspector and Family Nurse Practitioners.

The PTC is also comprised of representatives from Opthalmology; Dermatology; Infection Control; Ear, Nose and Throat; Hospital Administration and Community Nursing.

The workshop was sponsored by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).