SOUTH AFRICA AWAITS DISPENSING FEE DECISION
South Africa's Department of Health (DoH) is planning to issue its new guidelines on dispensing fees for pharmacists next month. Previously, fee levels were fixed at ZAR26 (US$4.23), or 26% of manufacturer selling price (MSP) for prescription drugs, and ZAR16 (US$2.6), or 16% of MSP, for OTCs.
This system was successfully challenged by retailers in the courts. In September 2005, the Constitutional Court ruled that the dispensing fee was inappropriate and ordered the two parties to negotiate a new agreement.
However, pharmacy groups have declined to specify what changes would be favourable, but it is thought a mixture of fixed and percentage based fees is the preferred option. In order to help structure the new fees, the DoH issued questionnaires to pharmacies asking for information on income and expenditure.
However, DoH claims that the response to the survey has been poor. Accordingly, the health minister will launch a public consultation before announcing the new dispensing regime.