The move is part of a nationwide project launched on Oct 1, and helps to reduce waiting times and congestion at the island’s three main government hospitals, PPHO Chief Dr Thanit Sermkaew announced at a press conference held at Vachira Phuket Hospital earlier this week.
Present at the press conference were Vachira Phuket Hospital Director Dr Chalermpong Sukontapol and Phuket Community Pharmacist Club President Kiatisak Panrangsri.
“Patients will be able to receive the same medication that they were issued at their local government hospital for free, and they will be able to receive advice from the pharmacist about how to take the medication and how they should look after themselves while on the medication,” Dr Thanit explained.
A total of 31 pharmacies across the island have been approved to provide the free medications: 16 in Muang District, seven in Thalang and eight in Kathu.
The medications provided are currently limited to those prescribed for 15 illnesses and conditions: diabetes, high blood pressure, hyperlipidemia, asthma, stroke, chronic brain injury, thyroid disease, chronic joint disease, enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia), kidney stones, epilepsy, dry eye disease, Parkinson's disease, glaucoma and SLE (systemic lupus erythematosus).
In order to collect free medications from the approved pharmacies, patients must first register for the project. They must be also be approved by their local hospital to join the project and they must have a national government healthcare “gold card” issued by the National Health Service.
Patients wanting to take advantage of the project are urged to ask their doctor at their nearest government hospital.