Written Answers. - Drug Treatment Services.

Róisín Shortall

Question:

189 Ms Shortall asked the Minister for Health and Children the payment structure for pharmacists who dispense methadone; the payment for daily, weekly and monthly dispensing; the basis for incentives which encourage one form of dispensing over another; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22048/02]

Fees for community pharmacists involved in the methadone protocol have been agreed in relation to once weekly dispensing and daily supervised dispensing. These fees are paid on the following basis with effect from January 2002:

Monthly fee for once weekly dispensing

(Total ingredient cost + (€7.33 x number of prescriptions in month) + €47.68

Monthly fee for daily supervised doses, seven days a week

(Total ingredient cost + (€4.43 x number of prescriptions in month) + (Number of instalments in month x €2.90) + €41.01).

Whether pharmacists dispense on a daily or weekly basis and whether it is supervised is determined by the prescription written by the doctor for a patient. In addition pharmacists involved in the protocol may apply to the health board for a grant to assist in adapting their pharmacy to accommodate the supervised consumption of methadone on the premises. The participation of pharmacists in the methadone protocol is extremely important and I would encourage as many pharmacists as possible to take part in this successful scheme.