Generic medicines are saving lives while saving money
Are your medical scheme benefits being depleted unnecessarily?
Wednesday, 10 October 2018, Spiralling costs in healthcare have seen South African private healthcare consumers paying progressively more for their medical scheme membership in recent years, yet many members find that their day-to-day benefits, and sometimes even their chronic benefit limits, run out long before the end of the year.
“With a significant and growing proportion of the public requiring long-term medicine for chronic illnesses, this has become a major cost driver for medical schemes and the members they serve,” says Louis Scheepers, Acting Chief Executive Officer of Medipost Pharmacy.
Chronic medicines are a lifeline to those living with conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, liver diseases and HIV, yet many people are unaware that there are measures they can take to help reduce the costs associated with treatment.
“As noted in the Health Market Inquiry’s preliminary report, many people belonging to medical schemes find their benefits confusing and are not sure what their membership entitles them to. When it comes to chronic medicine, we at Medipost Pharmacy have a comprehensive understanding of the claims processes for the 82 medical schemes we work with,” he adds.
“As part of our service, we help members to navigate the intricacies of claiming to ensure that the medicines we dispense are paid from the appropriate benefit category, which ultimately results in medical scheme members’ benefits and savings, where applicable, being conserved, with the added convenience of free delivery of medicines through our courier pharmacy service.”
Medical schemes and their members are obtaining better value thanks to the company’s innovative approach to distribution of more affordable generic medicines. Generic medicines are more affordable equivalents of pharmaceuticals that are produced once the patent on the original medicine has lapsed.
“It is important to remember that generics contain the same active ingredients and are quality assured by local regulators to ensure they are as safe and effective as the original medicine, however the cost of these medicines is usually significantly less,” Scheepers says.
People making use of the service also benefit from access to telephonic clinical advice from pharmacists and pharmacist’s assistants in their preferred official South African language from Monday to Friday, 08h00 to 22h00, and Saturdays between 08h00 and 12h00. Consumers can discuss issues such as contraindications, potential side effects of medicine or get advice on directions for use with properly qualified, registered professionals in the comfort of a private and familiar environment of their choice.
“Medipost Pharmacy is therefore able to offer exceptional value without compromising on the quality and effectiveness of treatment, and due to the scale of our national operations we have been able to offer free delivery and a range of pharmacy services at highly affordable rates,” he explains.
In the past year, the company saved the South African healthcare industry almost R92 million, when calculating the difference between the product dispensed versus the relevant scheme’s reference pricing, and one medical scheme alone achieved medicine cost savings of nearly R16 million within a three-month period.
“For medical scheme members, this is further good news because it assists in containing the costs of healthcare, and therefore helps to keep annual contribution increases to a minimum,” Scheepers notes.
“Essentially our approach is saving South African healthcare and the public millions of rand, while supporting wellness among those living with chronic health conditions,” he concludes.
More about Medipost Pharmacy
Medipost Pharmacy, which is the largest such service registered with the South African Pharmacy Council (SAPC), provides free delivery of chronic medication anywhere throughout the country to ensure patients have reliable, timeous access to chronic medicines.
For the last 27 years, Medipost Pharmacy has been a trusted partner to medical schemes, private and public patients, providing free delivery to a customer’s home, their nearest approved delivery point, such as a doctor’s rooms, clinic or PEPcell counter, and by arrangement to the customer’s temporary address or holiday destination within South Africa.
The company claims, dispenses, dispatches and delivers chronic medication to beneficiaries, to medical schemes, and other clients such as the employer groups and the Department of Health. Some 400 000 members of 82 medical schemes across South Africa are among those currently benefiting from Medipost’s courier pharmacy service.
Further reading on generic medicines:
Issued by: Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Medipost Pharmacy
Contact: Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville and Estene Lotriet-Vorster
Telephone: (011) 469 3016
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