KRALENDIJK- There is a growing number of complaints about the distribution of medicines on Bonaire. Especially now that the pharmacy in the hospital is closed, patients on the island are suddenly confronted with long waiting times when collecting pills or other medication.
Complaints about waiting times of one to one and a half hours, often in the blazing sun, are no longer uncommon. “I had to wait an hour and a half recently. It was just a repeat prescription for the Pill”, one person involved, tells Bonaire.nu.
Another patient complains on Social Media that the opening hours of Botica Korona are different from those used in reality. Despite the times announced on the door that the normal opening hours are from 8 to 6 (non-stop), the patient is still in front of a closed door just after 1 o’clock in the afternoon. Many patients seem to have the same experience. The pharmacy has recently been closed between 1 and 2 o’clock in the afternoon.
The sub-optimal drug distribution has become a multi-headed monster. Bonaire Medical Center indicates that patients can call to record their repeat prescription. If one calls before half past eleven in the morning, one can pick up the prescription after 3 o’clock in the afternoon the next day. If one calls after half past ten, you can get the recipe after two days, ‘at the botica of your choice’. At least that’s what the recording promises, when patients call.
Patients are required to leave a message stating their identity number, the prescription and the pharmacy where they want to collect the medicine and a telephone number. After recording the message, the patient is left in doubt whether the message has been received and processed. The patient does not receive any confirmation. A patient who did not know that the pharmacy in the hospital was closed went to collect his prescription, only to be told by a guard at the hospital that ‘there is no longer a pharmacy in the hospital’. The patient in question was never called by the GP’s office to inform them that they had to collect the medicines elsewhere.
Calling the GP to verify if the recipe has been generated, ends a pointless system of confusion. Callers who chose option 4 ‘speak with the assistant’ will be told that that option does not exist. Calling five times gives five times the exact same result.
Just heading to Botica Korona means that the patient has to stand in line not once, but twice if it turns out the recipe was never sent there. Especially difficult for working people who still have other things to do.
Fundashon Mariadal announced in a press release on December 13, 2021 that the pharmacy in the hospital will be “temporarily closed due to unforeseen circumstances” from that date. No further message was ever sent about the state of affairs.
On January 12, 2022, the spokesperson for Mariadal did sent out a press release to the local media about a ’temporary adjustment’ of the opening hours at Botica Korona. It states that the pharmacy is closed on working days between 1 and 2 o’clock in the afternoon. However, that again does not correspond to what the pharmacy itself indicates on its doors.
What is cynical is the fact that, despite the corona crisis and new technological means, there is little innovation on the island when it comes to medicine distribution on the island. In neighboring countries, pharmacies and laboratories work with WhatsApp messages or an online chat option, where once can receive a quick answer or a quick confirmation.
The ’temporary closure’ of the pharmacy at the hospital is no longer so temporary after the passing of 2 months. The GP offices seem overloaded, not technologically advanced and sometimes downright unfriendly towards the patient. Anyone who visits the doctor’s clinic in person, is expressly advised of the option to call and order medicines in that way.
It seems that patients in Bonaire will still have to be patient for quite some time, when it comes to picking up their prescription drugs.