01 September 2010

Meds company foots levy costs

One of the top suppliers of generic medicines in SA has come to the aid of patients who do not have medical aid, through an innovative initiative called Patient Assist.


One of the top suppliers of generic medicines in SA has come to the aid of patients who do not have medical aid, through an innovative initiative called Patient Assist.

Completely free to patients and accessible via all doctors and pharmacists, Patient Assist was devised to save patients money by subsidising the first 26% (to a maximum of R26) of the dispensing fee to pharmacists on behalf of patients.

Patient Assist is designed to help people who do not have medical aid cover, especially those who suffer from chronic illnesses like hypertension or depression says Paul Anley, Managing Director of Pharma Dynamics.

Millions of South Africans don't have Medical aid to cover costs of illness

“Cardiovascular and psychiatric problems are two of the most prevalent chronic illnesses affecting South Africans today. Millions of these patients do not have medical aid to cover the cost of their medicines for which our company is one of the key suppliers.

“Patient Assist helps patients get the medicines their doctor prescribes from our stable without having to pay the full dispensing fee to pharmacists for these. We will subsidise this fee to the pharmacists on their behalf.

A win-win for pharmacists and patients alike

“It’s really a win-win for both pharmacists and patients – and while it will impact on our bottom line, it’s a sincere part of our willingness to assist patients when it comes to the affordability of medicines. We believe this will ultimately be good for our business over the longer term.”

Anley has called on other pharmaceutical companies to introduce similar patient assistance programmes to help those most in need when it comes to their access to medicines.

“We do not have pharmaceutical drugs within our current range to cover all illnesses, which is why we are calling for other companies like ourselves to also put their money where their mouths are in terms of assisting patients.

“There are currently about seven million people in South Africa who do not have medical aid. The right to life and access to medicines that can alleviate and prevent illness should be as broadly applied as possible and if others in the pharmaceutical industry came on board with us we could make a bigger difference”, says Anley.

The economic downturn is putting increased pressure on patients and many are not taking their medicines because they cannot afford to do so says Dr Graham Cassel, a practitioner in private practice in Johannesburg and President of the SA Society of Cardiovascular Intervention (SASCI).

Cardiovascular disease, a major problem in South Africa

Cardiovascular disease is a major problem in South African and it can be a killer without proper treatment. Figures show cardiovascular deaths in patients aged 35 to 64 are projected to increase by 41% between 2000 and 2030. 

“Regular medication is essential when treating chronic illnesses”, says Anley, “and could literally mean the difference between life and death. We are lucky to live in the 21st century where medicines are available to help ease symptoms and manage life threatening chronic conditions.

”When you’re chronically sick, the price of medicine really matters and could ultimately affect how well you control your illness”, he says.

Generic medicines cost less

Anley says generic medicines cost far less than the price of the originator equivalents and when one adds to this the subsidy of 26% of the single exit price of the drugs that Pharma Dynamics will pay on the patient’s behalf, the savings can amount to thousands of rands annually. This is especially true of cardiovascular patients who are often on more than one medication.

“We take our role as a provider of medication very seriously and are excited to have devised Patient Assist to further help the medical and pharmaceutical professions in managing their patients, while easing the financial burden on patients”, says Anley.

Patients wanting to take advantage of Patient Assist can obtain application forms together with their unique Patient Assist card from their doctor and activate it at any pharmacy, via the call centre or website without any waiting periods.

For more information contact 0800 22 33 77, email or visit

(Issued by Lange Strategic Communications on behalf of Patient Assist September 2010)


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