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September 2002 issue Pharmacy Today magazine


A run on Pharmaceutical Review Services (PRS) money has been blamed for halting subsidised PRS in Manawatu, Horowhenua and Tararua.

MidCentral District Health Board advised pharmacists on April 11 that it would cease PRS payments from mid-May.

In an e-mailed response to questions, the DHB's funding general manager Sue Peacock said MidCentral had noted one pharmacist provider had claimed more than $1 million from the Triple Region (comprising 16 DHBs) PRS fund in two months, almost depleting the funding pool.

Health PAC figures indicate the claims were made in March and April this year. The total fund for the Triple Region PRS fund totalled $2.5 million from 1999 to 2002. As the DHB no longer had confidence it could fund services from the PRS fund, it was decided claims would not be paid out, she says. Pharmacy Today understands MidCentral is the only DHB not to fund the service.

Sue Peacock says another consideration was that PRS was "not being well used locally." In the year 2000/2001, $9700 worth of claims were made for PRS. In 2001/2002, this amount fell to $7900, according to MidCentral. About nine pharmacists are accredited for PRS in the MidCentral region.

On May 27, Nelson Marlborough DHB also gave notice to pharmacists PRS claims would no longer be paid but later advised funding was available. Funding and planning manager Ian Burn says the change of heart came after an interim funding arrangement with the Ministry of Health was negotiated collectively for DHBs by District Health Boards New Zealand.

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