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BUSINESS DAY Costs relating to medicines and consumables represent a substantial portion of healthcare expenditure in the private and public healthcare sectors. However, there are a number of areas in which meaningful savings can be achieved, according to Rentia Myburgh, group sales and marketing director of Medipost Pharmacy. "The growing prevalence of chronic and multiple diseases is in large part a product of an ageing population. However, the marked increase in diseases brought on by poor lifestyle and dietary choices is also a significant driver of high medicine usage and expenditure," she says. As is noted in the 2016 17 annual report of the Council for Medical Schemes, medicines and consumables dispensed by pharmacists and providers other than hospitals amounted to as much as R23.95bn or 15.84% of total healthcare benefits paid. This represented an increase of 4.65% compared to the R22.89bn spent in 2015*. Within the medical schemes context the difficulty with soaring costs such as these is there is a knock on effect on membership contribution rate increases, which in the present economic climate and against the background of rising unemployment pose a major threat to the sustainability of the healthcare industry. "However, unlike most other costs this is one of the few areas where substantial savings are still readily attainable," she adds. According to Myburgh, Medipost, which is one of the largest pharmacies registered with the South African Pharmacy Council, delivered close on R2bn in medicine and consumable items to healthcare consumers between September 2017 and August 2018. "The free courier service offered by Medipost not only ensures patients have reliable, timeous access to chronic medicines, but also achieved additional cost savings of about 5%, which amounted to a saving of close on R92m within the local healthcare industry." Medipost achieved savings on behalf of clients in the following ways: Medical schemes saved substantially because of the highly competitive professional fees offered by Medipost. Patients were offered more affordable generic equivalent medication, below the specific reference price of each individual scheme. In the case of a large Medipost medical scheme client, a saving of close on R3m was derived in the space of a single month this year. The same scheme achieved savings in medicine costs of almost R16m over a three month period. As an extension of the Medipost service offering, patients are given guidance on how to correctly follow the authorisation processes of their medical schemes so that their medication is claimed from the correct benefit thereby conserving their day to day benefits. In this way members can derive the best possible value for their healthcare rand. It is critical that medicine for chronic conditions, including hypertension, diabetes, cancer and HIV, is taken exactly as prescribed without interruption. Medipost goes to great lengths to help ensure full adherence to a treatment plan is as easy and cost effective as possible. "Reduced costs coupled with improved accessibility are key within the healthcare industry. Empowering patients with the relevant information is central to our philosophy of promoting equitable and accessible healthcare services. “We strive to enhance patients' understanding of their medication related healthcare benefits, the effective use thereof and the importance of following treatment programmes prescribed by healthcare professionals. We provide advice in all 11 official languages to ensure that important information is effectively communicated to members,” says Myburgh "Many of the patients making use of Medipost Pharmacy appreciate the convenience of having access to telephonic advice from pharmacists in a familiar environment, which is an integral part of our offering." *CMS annual report for 2016 17 Much can be done to cut costs Free courier service, generic equivalents and competitive fees help pharmacy to pass on savings.
Created at 2018/10/23 03:27 PM by Mediclinic
Last modified at 2018/10/23 03:27 PM by Mediclinic