Tuesday, 2 March 2004

Questions (253)

Willie Penrose


333 Mr. Penrose asked the Minister for Health and Children the reason prescribed medication such as quinine for the treatment of cramps is not available to the holders of medical cards but must be purchased by them; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6975/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Health and Children)

There is a common list of reimbursable medicines for the general medical services and drug payment schemes. This list ensures equity between the schemes in the range of medicines paid for by the State. The list is reviewed and amended monthly as new products become available and deletions are notified.

For an item to be included on the common list, it must comply with a published list of criteria. These include authorisation status where appropriate, price, and in certain cases the intended use of the product. In addition, the product should ordinarily be supplied to the public only by medical prescription and should not be advertised or promoted to the public. Quinine is licensed in Ireland for the treatment of malaria only. It is not included on the common list. A medical card holder who experiences financial difficulty in obtaining items not on the common list should approach the health board for assistance.