The Mental Health Association (MHA) has called out Health Minister Chris Fearne over psychiatric drugs he had promised in the last budget, but are still not appearing on the Government Formulary.
“The availability and easy accessibility of the drugs, which have been used as standard of care for many years, is crucial to the successful implementation of community care,” MHA said.
Having sent him a letter and several reminders, MHA is still awaiting a response.
Fearne had stated in Parliament on 19th October 2020: “In line with our commitment towards the execution of the Mental Health Strategy 2020-2030, we will introduce new psychiatric drugs in the Government Formulary.”
The Government Formulary List includes medicinal products, vitamins, food supplements and borderline substances. Certain psychiatric drugs would make it to this list in order to be available through the Pharmacy Of Your Choice (POYC) scheme, making them free for those who need them.
Fearne said this would “complement the range of mental health services offered in the community.” He also said they would invest in the planned new hospital for acute psychiatric care close to Mater Dei Hospital.
However, more than a year later, these psychiatric drugs are still not available to patients – despite the Department of Psychiatry and the Government Formulary List Advisory Committee having approved of it.
Just months ago, Fearne confirmed that plans to prioritise mental health were in the works for the coming months. He told Lovin Malta that the implementation of Malta’s mental health strategy, which was approved just before the pandemic, was “well underway”.
But the MHA states that “this situation is imposing an enormous financial and poor quality of life burden on patients and their carers.”
The association said they would greatly appreciate Fearne’s personal and direct intervention in order to rectify this critical situation which is having a negative impact on many families.
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