Out of pocket payments payment
Imagery illustrating the out-of-pocket payments made for healthcare.

Pharmacists Worry Over High Out-of-pocket Spending on Healthcare

Nigerian pharmacists, under the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), have criticised the country’s high out-of-pocket healthcare spending, with patients responsible for over 70 percent of their costs.

The ACPN at its 42nd National Scientific Conference in Delta State highlighted the need for improved treatment outcomes and the Values-Based Pharmacy Care Model to address the fragmented healthcare system in Nigeria. The model aims to address the rising costs of healthcare and provide access to care, thereby enhancing the quality of life for those affected by health issues.

Continuing, the conference asserted that building effective community pharmacy (CP) services is the roadmap to achieving universal health coverage (UHC) with the “Pharmacist-Led Care Team Model” grounded in value-based care (VBC), with a focus on professionalism and knowledge-based pharmacy practice, which will better serve the Nigerian populace.

The conference further submitted that the solution to the gaps in healthcare in Nigeria and the achievement of universal healthcare lies within the pharmacy profession.

The communiqué further noted that “effective community pharmacy services can make up for the shortage of healthcare personnel, resulting in effective healthcare coverage in the country, through the management of chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, asthma, kidney disease, etc., to reduce their burden.”

They also posited that there was a need to re-imagine and re-invent healthcare in Nigeria and change the trajectory of care to form a new kind of network where providers of healthcare are properly, decently, and well remunerated for the retention and sustainability of three quality healthcare services.

The communiqué emphasizes the importance of remuneration for healthcare professionals’ contributions to healthcare provision. It advocates for a pharmacist-driven healthcare system in Nigeria, where community pharmacy plays a crucial role in patient care.

This model involves care navigation, patient understanding, cost control, and quality measures.

The conference also emphasizes the need for patient involvement in their own care, citing successful models in Mexico and Chile.

The conference emphasised the value-based care model, which results in better treatment outcomes, reduced patient spending, and improved medication compliance. It also highlighted the benefits of a pharmacist-patient coalition, where patients set treatment goals through improved health indices that are discussed, agreed upon, and monitored. This approach helps patients understand the intricacies of their disease and work towards improving it through lifestyle modifications and diet changes.

The conference urged stakeholders to champion healthcare disruptions, as patients are willing and able to pay for their individual healthcare and can negotiate with a flexible regulatory environment. The value-based care model offers a high cost-benefit ratio, increasing patient lifespan and reducing days of disability and helplessness. The conference also called for prescribing pharmacists to drive better patient care and heightened universal health coverage. Community pharmacies should embrace specific, measurable, actionable, relevant, and time-bound key performance indicators (KPIs) to enhance data records, guide stock value estimation, and focus on daily business activities for profit optimisation.