Name of Journal: Improving Hong Kong
Title of article: The Hospital Authority Drug Formulary (HADF) Name: Ng Ka Lok (Peony)
The Hospital Authority (HA) has introduced the Drug Formulary in the fall of 2005. It is a list of drugs that are 1) prescribed freely (HA standard), 2)not prescribed freely but the Samaritan Funds will provide financial assistance if needed(Non-HA standard I)and 3)not prescribed freely and are not protected by a safety net(Non-HA standard II)1. At present, there are about 1300 drugs listed as HA standard drug, while there are 14 types of Non-HA standard I and 88 types of Non-HA standard II drugs. The purpose of Drug Formulary suggested by the WHO is to provide information about safe and effective drugs to the public rather than “to make rational choice on the best available drugs”2. Many questioned if the HA embarked the Drug Formulary purely to cut cost and neglect the needs of patients in the recent years3.
The Drug Formulary running today has 2 major problems. Firstly, many expensive and often essential drugs4 such as Glivec and Interferon are listed as Non-HA standard I1, it appears that the only criteria to distinguish between standard drugs or non-standard drugs is the cost of the drugs. The Society for Community Organization stated the threshold of application of Samaritans Funds is too high5 as the income of the patient’s family is also counted during assessment. If the family monthly income is greater than the Hong Kong family income median (of the family of the same size) they are not likely to be assisted6. For example, Ms. Fan is in a family of four. She suffers from autoimmune disease and is required to take Interferon as treatment. The cost of Interferon per month is $7200HKD while her total family income is only $17000HKD. She applied for the Samaritan Funds for four times, but only succeeded once with a help of $1000HKD7, which is obviously a limited...
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