Letters to the Editor

Look at availability of drugs for JADEP members

Tuesday, April 25, 2017    

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Dear Editor,

In 1996 the Government established the Jamaica Drug for the Elderly Programme (JADEP). Since its inception many elderly Jamaicans, 60 years and older, have benefited immensely from this initiative by receiving their prescription drugs for a minimal fee of $40 per item.

However, there is an urgent and pressing need which should be addressed, that of the consistency of the drugs supplied to the pharmacies. In many instances the JADEP drugs arrive late at the pharmacies, additionally, the quantities are insufficient given the growing population of senior citizens.

As the population ages, those 60 years and older become more prone to and are affected by noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, arthritis, hypertension, and high cholesterol. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), NCDs kill 40 million people each year, equivalent to 70 per cent of all deaths globally. The WHO states that NCDs, also known as chronic diseases, are the result of a combination of genetics, psychological, environmental, and behavioural factors. The main types of NCDs are cardiovascular diseases (like heart attacks and strokes), cancers, chronic respiratory diseases (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma), and diabetes. There is no family in Jamaica which has not had at least one member affected by these chronic diseases.

A more robust effort on the part of the Government is critical in ensuring that the drugs for citizens on JADEP are available to those Jamaicans who, now in their twilight years, are dependent upon these medications to have a better quality of life, given ill health. It bears thought that our state of wellness is closely linked to accessibility to affordable health care as well as the consistency of prescription drugs.

I urge the Government to look into this matter.

Wayne Campbell







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