$10m, 24k patients, and 142 medicines for Free Medicine Program
More than 24,317 individuals are registered for the Government’s Free Medicine Program (FMP), according to the Minister of Health and Medical Services, Hon. Rosy Akbar.
At its inception in 2015, 72 medicines were included in the medication list. In 2016, another 72 drugs were added to the program bringing the total to 142.
The annual budget was $8 million initially and increased to $10 million in 2016. 90% of the FMP budget is used to procure and distribute medicines to local pharmacies and health facilities throughout Fiji.
Eligible individuals must have a prescription issued by a doctor before they can obtain medicines under the program.
Adults with an annual income of less thank $20,000 are eligible to register as well as children under 18 whose combined parent is less than $20,000.
Individuals can register by filling a registration form available at health facilities, which are processed before an FMP Card is issued by the Ministry. Those covered by some Social Welfare Department schemes do not need to re-register.
Four medicines from the list (Enoxaparin, Vitamin B12, surfactant, alteplase) can only be supplied by the major hospitals as they have to be prescribed by a consultant and given by injection.
Sixty-five private retail pharmacies and 47 government health facilities are involved in the Free Medicine Program.