Bonaire has relatively few pharmacies for the number of residents

Bonaire has relatively few pharmacies for the number of residents
The question arises whether there are sufficient pharmacies on Bonaire

KRALENDIJK- Despite the reopening of the pharmacy in the hospital, complaints about long waiting times and sub-optimal efficiency continue.

Many customers have a hard time to understand why their medicines are not ready for pickup, even when prescriptions are sent directly by the general practitioners to the pharmacy in question.

Others bring up that modern technology is so far hardly used to make the process of ordering and pickup more efficient and more customer friendly.

The complaints raise the question of whether there are simply too few pharmacies on the island relative to the number of inhabitants. With four pharmacies for about 22,000 inhabitants, there is currently one pharmacy for every 5,500 inhabitants. This makes Bonaire compare favourably to the situation in the Netherlands, where there is one pharmacy per 8,479 residents. However, Bonaire lags behind St. Eustatius and Saba, where there is one pharmacy per 3,330 and 2,100 inhabitants respectively.

It should be noted that there are relatively few pharmacies in the Netherlands, compared to the number of inhabitants. In Belgium there is 1 pharmacy for every 2,400 inhabitants. A study into pharmacy density in Belgium however did find that 25% of pharmacies in the country have too few customers to have a right to exist. In the United States, there is about one pharmacy for every 3,770 residents.


If the number of visitors that visitors visit each year is taken into consideration, it can be argued that on average there are always about 15,916 visitors on the island. This calculation is based on a total number of 191,000 visitors in the year 2019, who arrived on the island by air. Spread out over 12 months, this means there are about 16,000 visitors per month on the island.

If the number of visitors is included, who will occasionally also have to rely on the four pharmacies, there are not 22,000 people which have to be served by the current four pharmacies, but in fact about 37,000 per month. If visitors -divided of 12 months- are included, the number of people per pharmacy rises to 9,250, or considerably more people than is the case in the Netherlands.

Fifth pharmacy?

The conclusion therefore seems justified that if the number of inhabitants and the number of visitors continues to increase, Bonaire will definitely need a fifth pharmacy in the near future to give an acceptable level of service to the residents of the island.

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