The Health Ministry says it’s taking steps to reduce the billions of dollars it owes the National Health Fund, NHF.

This, after an Auditor General’s report tabled in Parliament last week found that the NHF has not been satisfying its mandate to supply critical drugs and treatment for chronic illnesses.

The NHF says this is due to what it says is the inability of the Ministry of Health to promptly pay over almost $500-million a month budgeted by the Finance Ministry.

The NHF says it’s resulted in the Health Ministry now owing it almost $4-billion.

In a statement yesterday, the Ministry says it takes seriously the NHF’s imperative to help persons with chronic illnesses.

It says discussions about reform to protect the Fund and its mandate are taking place within the Ministry.

The Ministry says a preliminary meeting has noted the rising cost of drugs as an area requiring special attention.

It says initiatives include reducing the vital, essential and necessary list of drugs that is procured by the NHF.

The Ministry says this is expected to save the country billions of dollars.

It says the public will be kept informed about the deliberations.