One out of every three Bahamians suffers from chronic non-communicable diseases. These diseases are very costly to control and have a major impact on the quality of life of those affected. For these reasons, in 2009, The Bahamas Government enacted legislation to introduce the National
Prescription Drug Plan (NPDP). The key goals of this plan are:
• To improve access to prescription drugs and medical supplies in public and private pharmacies for chronic disease patients.
• To provide funding for health promotion and wellness projects that are focused on reducing the numbers of Bahamians affected by targeted chronic non-communicable diseases.
The plan will be implemented in August 2010 and will provide prescriptions free-of-charge to affected persons in the first phase and at minimal costs in later phases. The list of diseases covered includes Arthritis, Asthma, Breast Cancer, Diabetes, Glaucoma, High Cholesterol, Hypertension, Ischaemic Heart Disease, Major Depression, Prostate Cancer and Psychosis. The first phase of the National Prescription Drug Plan will cover:
• NIB Pensioners
• NIB Invalids
• Bahamian citizens over 65 years of age who are not eligible to receive an NIB pension
• Children under 18 years of age or under 25 years (if full time students)
who have been diagnosed with one or more of the chronic conditions covered under the plan.
In future phases, the Plan will cover employed and self-employed persons, persons in government institutions, voluntarily insured contributors and other indigent persons.