Medicine too costly for more Belgians

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More people are finding it difficult to pay for the medicine they have to buy at pharmacies.

24 June 2008

BELGIUM - More people are finding it difficult to pay for medicine they have to buy at pharmacies, concludes a survey by the specialist magazine for pharmacists.

Almost all pharmacists in Belgium say that their customers who have a hard time paying the non-refundable part of their medical expenses. 30 percent of the pharmacists say that this happens quite often.

The trend is most common in the cities and nearing the end of the month.

Pharmacists in Wallonia report the trend more often than in Flanders.

Many pharmacists notice a difference in buying behaviour, according to the time of the month. The most necessary medicines are bought the beginning of the month. At the end of the month, some pharmacies even experience a decline in turnover of 30 percent.

In the Walloon region, 45 percent of the pharmacists are regularly confronted by patients who have problem paying for their medicines. The situation is most acute in the provinces of Liège and Hainault.

Some pharmacists are prepared to offer their clients credit. In the larger cities, pharmacies often work together with the welfare services.

In life-threatening situations, pharmacists are obliged to give patients vital medicines, for free if need be.

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