Pharmacy of your choice (POYC)

The Pharmacy of Your Choice (POYC) scheme is a national pharmaceutical service which provides thousands of patients’ suffering from a chronic disease with free medicines and/or pharmaceutical devices through the government, under the legislation of Schedule V and Schedule II.

THE PROCESS

S1: Visit to the pharmacy of your choice

Visit a pharmacy from within your locality that is participating in the POYC Scheme, and inform the pharmacist of your interest to register with the pharmacy.

If you have never been registered with a pharmacy before, the managing pharmacist will provide you with a pharmacy registration form, consisting of 3 sections: Section A, B and C. Fill in Section A with your details, and take the incomplete pharmacy registration form (unfilled Section C) to your next visit to a medical professional.

S2: Medicines Request Application

Visit a medical professional* for the purpose of filling the medicines request form and Section C of the pharmacy registration form (if you are a new POYC patient at the pharmacy of your choice). Your doctor will carry out a patient assessment and diagnosis, and will follow the government formulary list to select a treatment which is suitable for you**.

The medicines request form is to be sent to the Medicines Approval Section (MAS) one stop shop, the unit responsible for the co-ordination and approval of the entitlement system. This can be done either directly by your medical professional to schedulev.poyc@gov.mt or directly by hand (by yourself) to the MAS one stop shop (Level 1 Mater Dei Hospital, St. Luke’s Hospital). Upon successful processing of the submitted forms, the following documents will be issued:

  1. An entitlement document (Schedule V – Yellow paper, Schedule II – pink paper) enlisting all your required medicines. This will be received by post, at your home address, usually within 5 working days.
  2. A letter from the Management Efficiency Unit (MEU) showing permission for the specific medication, for protocol regulated items
  3. A to “Whom It May Concern” note (MDH145) which lists the medications that accompanies either the Pink Card or a Yellow document with a “treatment as prescribed” clause for conditions such as: Malignant Disease, Psychiatric condition and Psoriasis
  4. An approval letter for Diabetes Miletus patients detailing their entitlement to a blood glucose meter and blood sugar monitoring sticks.

*In general, for most conditions, new applications must be made by consultants. However, health centre doctors can apply for hypertension treatment as well as cholesterol treatment as per the

Government formulary list. Private doctors who are specialists in family medicine can only apply for renewal of such treatment.

** It is important to note that some medicines are regulated either by a set protocol (e.g. inhalers used for asthma treatment, see the full list here1) or in accordance to with the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance and the Drugs (Control) Regulations. In the circumstance that you are chronically prescribed

(A) A protocol-regulated item, your medical professional will include the protocol number in the appropriate section of the Schedule V form and a permit will be issued under your name for that specific treatment

(B) A controlled drug, your medical professional will fill in and sign an application form for narcotic and psychotropic substances. You would need to take this, together with a GREEN prescription filled in by your doctor to the Drug Control Unit at St. Luke’s Hospital POYC section and they will issue a new control card – a card that is used to monitor and control the use of such drugs as stipulated by the law. Alternatively, this can also be sent by post and you will receive your issued control card at your home address.

S3: Visit to the pharmacy of your choice

Visit the pharmacy of your choice with your filled in Section A and Section C of the pharmacy registration form, together with

  1. Your Entitlement Cards (Schedule V – Yellow, Schedule II – Pink). Please make sure that the Cards are valid and carry the rubber stamp of the medical consultant.
  2. The special medicine entitlement permit (were applicable) together with the photocopy of the letter from MEU showing permission for the specific medication.
  3. MDH145 “To Whom It May Concern” note which lists the medications that accompanies the Pink Card.

The pharmacy will fill in Section B of the form and then forward the application together with the necessary documentation to POYC for it to be processed. Following this, your treatment profile will be uploaded within a few days onto the pharmacy account so that the pharmacist can dispense your medication.

S4: Collecting your free medicines from your chosen pharmacy

You can begin to collect your medicines from the pharmacy of your choice once processing of your registration documentation has been complete. This usually does not take longer than 1 day if the pharmacy sends such documentation electronically, but may take longer if hard copies are sent.

In order to collect your entitled medicines from the pharmacy you have registered with, make sure to take with you:

1) Your entitlement document (Schedule V – Yellow, Schedule II – Pink) enlisting all of your entitled medications

2) Any valid permits that were issued

3) A valid prescription for your entitled medication. A prescription can either be obtained privately from your general practitioner or by a doctor at a healthcare centre.

NOTE: When collecting Controlled Drugs, patients are also required to present:

1. A valid GREEN prescription [which is valid for only ONE month from issue date]

2. A valid Control Card duly filled-in by the medical practitioner.

The pharmacist will dispense an 8-week medicine supply for chronic medications and a 4-week supply for controlled medicines, in accordance to the prescription shown at the time. He/she will also note down your next due date – be sure to take your POYC documents 2-3 days before this date to the pharmacy to allow duly time for your medication to be prepared to avoid running out of your supply.

 

 


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

1. How do I change the pharmacy I wish to collect my free medicines under the Schedule V scheme?

 

If you were previously registered with another pharmacy and wish to change the pharmacy of your choice, complete the change in pharmacy form. Give the completed form to the managing pharmacist at the pharmacy and he/she will send this document to the POYC unit where your registration will be transferred.

 

2. I am a diabetic patient, when and how will I collect the glucose monitoring meter I am entitled to?

 

Once your medical practitioner has marked you as a diabetic patient, you will receive a letter from the POYC unit stating your entitlement to the blood glucose meter and monitoring strips. Take this document to the pharmacy that you are registered with, and the managing pharmacy will contact POYC for the delivery of the items. Once received in the pharmacy, the pharmacist will contact you for collection. Upon collection, you will be asked to sign a document, of which a copy is given to the patient and the other which is kept in the pharmacy.

 

3. How often will patients do I need to collect my entitled medication?

 

Patients are to collect their medicines from their local pharmacy every 28 days (1 month) for controlled drugs (Green prescriptions) and every 56 days (2 months) for all other pharmaceuticals. Every time you collect your medicines, your pharmacist will write down your next due date. In order to allow sufficient time for your medicines to be prepared, be sure to drop off all your necessary documents 2-3 days before this date, and return to the pharmacy within the following days for collection.

 

4. What do I do if my control card expires?

 

If you have a control card, it is good to note that this expires every year after which you would need to renew it as without it you will not be able to collect your psychotropic medication. To renew your control card, visit your medical practitioner to fill and sign the application form for narcotic or psychotropic substances. Take this, together with a GREEN prescription to the Drug Drug Control Unit at St Luke’s Hospital (Monday to Friday 8am – 1pm) or at the Drug Control Unit office in Paola (8am- 1pm), and they will issue a new control card.

 

Alternatively, you may also renew your control card by sending all the required documentation through the post.2 If you choose to use this service, send all the documentation to the unit and they will send you the Control Card by post at your home address.