Govt. wants to lower prescription drug costs | THE DAILY HERALD

PHILIPSBURG–In an effort to lower the overall cost of health care in the country, government is working towards reducing the cost of the fifty most used prescription drugs in St. Maarten.

Health Minister Emil Lee told reporters on Wednesday, that reducing the cost of prescription drugs is a way to help reduce the overall cost of health care.

A Pharmaceutical Remuneration System GVS committee has been formed to work towards this. The committee comprises members Peter Bruns, Luchienne Wespel, Andwele Illes and Gabe van Essen. The committee, which is expected to have its first meeting by the end of this month, is tasked with the responsibility of looking at the cost of prescription drugs and making recommendations to the Minister of Tourism Economic Affairs Transport and Telecommunications (TEAT) for implementation.

Lee said the company Improvement BV was hired to conduct a price survey which has since been completed; as well as to look at prescription drug costs; to look at what appropriate structure should be in place and what appropriate pricing authorities should aim for.

Thanks to the cooperation agreements St. Maarten has with Curaçao and Aruba, St. Maarten has had an opportunity to examine the way these sister islands addressed the matter and the challenges they encountered. “We are actually the last one in the Dutch Caribbean islands to look at implementing measures to bring down the costs for prescription drugs. Aruba has gone through a method where they looked at a voluntary approach – they came with recommended pricing and asked the pharmacies to comply with that…,” Lee said. Curaçao also changed its system. “We have learned from Aruba and Curaçao and we learned from what worked and what didn’t work.”

While Curaçao looked at its top 200 most used drugs, St. Maarten will be looking to lower the cost of the 50 most used prescription drugs in this process. “We believe that the bulk of our costs are in those 50 medications and it’s the most practical approach,” Lee noted.

Source: The Daily Herald