NHF to spend up to $6 billion to subsidise drugs this year

The National Health Fund (NHF) is projecting expenditure of more than $6 billion during the 2020/21 fiscal year to provide clients with subsidised drugs for chronic illnesses.

These provisions are facilitated under the NHF and Jamaica Drug for the Elderly Programmes (JADEP), which sees beneficiaries being issued with health cards.

According to the Jamaica Public Bodies Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for the year ending March 2021, some $5.72 billion is being earmarked for the NHF Programme, up from $5.06 billion in 2019/20, representing an increase of approximately $672 million.

A total of $500 million is being programmed for JADEP, up from just over $329 million for 2019/20, which represents a $171-million increase.

Meanwhile, the NHF will be looking to increase the number of registered beneficiary cardholders under both programmes, during the upcoming fiscal year.

According to the Estimates, the number of persons registered under the NHF programme is projected to increase by 32,004 persons to 535,297, while an additional 14,019 JADEP beneficiaries are being targeted to bring the overall figure to 328,986.

Senior citizens are able to benefit under the Jamaica Drug for the Elderly Programme (JADEP).

In the meantime, the NHF is projecting expenditure of $1.7 billion under its Institutional Benefits Programme to fund health promotion and support projects for the Ministry of Health and Wellness.

This provision will cover a range of prevention and promotional activities as well as infrastructural development and improvement, in support of the Government’s National Health Fund Policy.

Additionally, the NHF will be looking to facilitate 110,000 patient screenings, which will be enhanced by the entity’s fully operational mobile clinic, while continuing the provision of services utilising the Quick Prescript Application and Kiosks.

The Quick Prescript Application, which was introduced in 2018, reduces the waiting time for patients to access medication via public pharmacies, by allowing them to initiate the processing of prescriptions via smartphone.