Government Waives Charges on Glaucoma, Breast and Prostate Cancer Meds

The Cabinet of Montserrat announced Thursday that it has waived the charges for a number of medications used for the treatment of glaucoma, breast and prostate cancers on Montserrat.

The Cabinet has approved the following medications, Timolol Maleate Ophthalmic Solution (Timoptic®); Bimatoprost Ophthalmic Solution (Lumigan®) and Latanoprost Ophthalmic Drops (Xalatan®) for resident Montserratian patients diagnosed with glaucoma; and Goserelin Acetate Subcutaneous Implant injections for resident Montserratian patients diagnosed with breast (women) and prostate (men) cancer, under the Public Hospital Regulations 8B Treatment, be given without charge, effective September 1, 2019.

Through the administration of these medications without charge to resident Montserratians, the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) seeks to contribute to the realisation of Government of Montserrat’s 20l9/2020 policy agenda which refers to increased access to essential and specialised medical services through leveraging technology, as well as direct service provision. The MOHSS also seeks to improve access to critical medicines as part of its strategic objective of expanding and optimizing the delivery of healthcare on island.

This decision, which took effect from September 1, 2019 will benefit approximately 160 residents on island.

Glaucoma is a common eye condition where the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain, becomes damaged. It is usually caused by fluid building up in the front part of the eye, which increases pressure inside the eye. It can damage the optic nerve, which transmits images to the brain. If the damage continues, glaucoma can lead to permanent vision loss. Without treatment, glaucoma can cause total permanent blindness within a few years. Once diagnosed, glaucoma is usually controlled with eye drops which reduce eye pressure. Glaucoma is a life-long condition and needs continual follow-up.

Goserelin or Zoladex is a medication that mimics the actions of a hormone that affects the release of sex hormones such as testosterone and estrogen. It is used to treat prostate cancer in men and breast cancer in women, if it develops before or around the time of menopause.

Prior to this decision, the Glendon Hospital Pharmacy facilitated the purchase of these medications and patients were required to pay for these drugs.

The Cabinet comprises all ministers of government, the Attorney General, Financial Secretary and the Governor.

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