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:
The Plan commenced on September 20, 2010 and provides prescriptions free-of-charge to affected persons in the first and second phases and at minimal costs in later phases. The list of diseases initially covered included Arthritis, Asthma, Breast Cancer, Diabetes, Glaucoma, High Cholesterol, Hypertension, Ischaemic Heart Disease, Major Depression, Prostate Cancer and Psychosis.
On March 12 2012, The National Prescription Drug Plan expanded its list of covered conditions. Four new chronic diseases were added to the list of covered conditions. These included epilepsy, benign prostate hypertrophy, sickle cell anemia and thyroid disease. In addition to adding new diseases, two current disease categories were also expanded. Ischaemic Heart Disease was expanded to include all Ischaemic Disease, including patients who have suffered an ischaemic stroke and patients with peripheral artery disease. The existing conditions, Psychosis and Major Depression, were be combined into one category of “Psychiatric Illness”.
Conditions covered under the Drug Plan (as of March 12, 2012) include:
Arthritis, Asthma, Benign Prostate Hypertrophy, Breast Cancer, Diabetes, Epilepsy, Glaucoma, High Cholesterol, Hypertension, Ischaemic Disease, Prostate Cancer, Psychiatric Illness, Sickle Cell Anemia, Thyroid Disease.
The first phase of the National Prescription Drug Plan covered:
The second phase of the Plan commenced on May 9, 2011 and coverage was extended to include the following groups:
In future phases, the Plan will cover employed and self-employed persons and voluntarily insured contributors.