Today's Labour News

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GEMSBL Premium reports that the Independent Community Pharmacy Association (IPCA) says it warned the Government Employees Medical Scheme (GEMS) that its controversial plan to deliver multivitamins to its members flew in the face of good clinical practice and that its chosen product was overpriced.

The Council for Medical Schemes (CMS) is investigating GEMS over a contract it awarded to Afrocentric subsidiary Activo Health to provide about 1.2-million adult beneficiaries with a five-month supply of vitamins and minerals. Earlier this week, GEMS principal officer Stan Moloabi said the board agreed to set aside R400m from its ex gratia fund to provide adult beneficiaries with multivitamins during the coronavirus pandemic. ICPA CEO Jackie Maimin said there was insufficient high-quality evidence demonstrating that multivitamins and minerals were beneficial for the public, and global health authorities did not recommend routine prescribing of these products. It was also important for a healthcare provider to check if it was safe for people to take supplements as some vitamins and minerals interfered with prescribed medication. “It is very unusual for a scheme to procure a medicine directly for members,” Maimin noted. Moloabi defended GEMS’s decision to provide eligible beneficiaries with vitamins, saying it did so in response to a need expressed by members. So far, 187,000 beneficiaries have signed up for the vitamins. Moloabi said GEMS would co-operate fully with the CMS inquiry.

  • Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Tamar Kahn at BusinessLive (subscriber access only)


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