South African pharmacies could face closure due to dispensing regulations coming into effect in January, the United South African Pharmacies (Usap) said on Tuesday.
Speaking at a meeting held at the Glenhove Conference Centre, Usap chairperson Julian Solomon said the new regulations would lead to many pharmacies having to close down.
Director of Management Healthcare System, David Boyce, said the department of health's Pricing Committee did not make provision for inflation.
He said the implementation of the regulations would lead to pharmacies not being able to cover their expenses.
Under the tariffs announced on 31 October, the dispensing fee for medicines with a single exit price (SEP) of R75 would be R4 plus 33% of the SEP, while 64% of medicines fell into this bracket, Boyce said.
Over 60% face collapse
The fee on medicines costing between R75 and R250 would be R25 plus 6%; between R250 and R1 000, R33 plus 3%; and R1 000 and more, R50 plus 1.5%.
Boyce said that of 2 467 pharmacies polled 63% of them would fail, 22% were "likely to survive", while 15% were at a significant risk of failing.
"A casualty rate whereby operating expenses exceeded operational income would occur," Boyce said.
Ivan Kotze, executive director of the Pharmaceutical Society of South Africa (PSSA), said the Pharmaceutical Stakeholders Forum held a meeting on Tuesday with the Pricing Committee to discuss resolutions to the regulations.
According to Kotze, a letter to Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang and director general of health, Thami Mseleku, had been written to "defer" the implementation of the regulations.
Solomon added that a minimum of six towns in South Africa were without pharmaceutical services, and that affordability and availability of medication was important. – (Sapa)
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