Patients question $5 copayment ‘every day’

In print

Patients question $5 copayment ‘every day’

Marium Slaimakhel and Brittany Waha
Sole-charge pharmacist at Puhinui Pharmacy in Papatoetoe Marium Slaimankhel
Pharmacies are struggling more than ever to collect the $5 copayment, with stiff competition from chains offering free prescriptions. Most communit


I would  suggest  most pharmacies dip into their pockets to cover prescription charges for the needy. For us its about $5000 per year. I know of individual hospital pharmacists who have asked  pharmacies to bill them personally for frequent flyers where they have determined that  prescription costs were the reason. 

When they reviewed the copayment they reduced the price by two thirds from $15 to $5 for the well off and kept it at $5 for the poor . It disproportionately affected the poor, the elderly and those unable to work due to ill health. It wasn’t equitable then and it isn’t equitable now. Its hard to reconcile the rhetoric of the DHB’s, MOH and government around equity with the reality we see day to day in our pharmacies. 

Its  time to make the system more equitable 

Stephen Roberts

Roberts Ngaruawahia Pharmacy