It has taken a group of independent pharmacists eight years of unrelenting persistence to force the medical aid regulator to do its job — and stop medical aids from charging patients "excessive" penalties for using the pharmacies of their choice.

Until now, medical aid members were often forced to pay an extortionate fee if they wanted to use a different provider — including doctors, dentists and pharmacies — instead of the "designated service provider" (DSP) preferred by the medical aid...

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