WHERE TO, INDEPENDENT COMMUNITY PHARMACY?
Community Pharmacy in South Africa is possibly in the worst crises it has ever been. The Independent Community Pharmacy (ICP) owner, manages , owns and finances his own pharmacy. He does not have access to mega funds, like the corporates do, and has to compete with the likes of Clicks, Shop-Rite Checkers, Pick n Pay and a few other listed companies, who have access to huge financial resources.
With the advent of DSP’s (designated service providers), a significant slice of the patient/client base has been unfairly forced to seek chronic medication from DSP’s. This could take the form of courier type operations, and include the corporate pharmacies. These corporates use their financial muscle to supply chronic medicines at ridiculous dispensing fees. Any economic or actural study would reveal that it is not only unsustainable, but disastrous from a financial and health point. The Independants at this time are in negotiations with the Department of Health (DOH) to find a fair , sustainable and viable dispensing fee. A strong and vibrant Community Pharmacy Sector is critical for success of the proposed National Health Insurance Scheme because of its national footprint. Therefore we cannot allow ICP, a national asset if ever there was one, to be so weakened that it cannot take its rightful place in the healthcare delivery service of this country.