New York City Gives Prescriptions For Free Fruits And Vegetables

Patients with high blood pressure get a US$30 prescription in coupons to buy fruits and vegetables.

KUALA LUMPUR, August 14 — New York City has expanded a programme to 16 pharmacies at low-income neighbourhoods to provide people with hypertension extra money to buy fruits and vegetables.

The Huffington Post reported that the Pharmacy to Farm programme has distributed over US$80,000 (RM334,520) in Health Bucks coupons to over 850 participants since its launch in May 2017.

Under the programme, which started as a New York City Health Department pilot programme, patients who come to pick up their medication for blood pressure at participating pharmacies also get a “prescription” for US$30 (RM125) in coupons, redeemable for fruits and vegetables at any of the city’s 142 farmers markets.

“I’m excited to join and tell my patients how important this program is,” Abid Nadeem, a supervising pharmacist at Dyckman Pharmacy in Manhattan, was quoted saying.

“They are understanding what it all means, how the city is spending money on them, for their health. They are eager to get vouchers.”

Jeni Clapp, director of nutrition policy and programs at the New York City Health Department, reportedly said there has been interest in the clinical environment to see how doctors can connect patients to healthier food.

“For people who have fewer resources, a lot of clinicians were interested in actually connecting patients to those resources,” Clapp said.

The Huffington Post reported that New York City’s fruit and vegetable prescription scheme was the first to be administered at pharmacies, rather than in hospitals or clinics like in other states.

“Clinicians actually don’t have a tonne of time with patients. So having a program like that be sustained and be something that can be scaled can be challenging,” Clapp was quoted saying.

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