Medicinal Products Supply

Questions (211)

Seán Kyne

Question:

211. Deputy Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Health the measures in place to identify and prevent the importation of drugs, prescription or otherwise, purchased on the internet in view of the dangers of the consumption of same without medical direction or supervision. [21863/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The problem of the misuse of prescription drugs has been recognised at national, European and international levels. Through the framework of the National Drugs Strategy 2009-2016, the Department of Health is working in collaboration with the relevant statutory agencies to monitor the availability of controlled drugs, including prescription medicines, through illicit channels.

Under the Medicinal Products (Prescription and Control of Supply) Regulations, it is prohibited for a person to supply a prescription medicine except in accordance with a prescription, and the supply must be made from a registered pharmacy by or under the personal supervision of a registered pharmacist. A person who contravenes these Regulations is guilty of an offence.

The Revenue Commissioner's Customs Service and the Irish Medicines Board (IMB) have shared competency in relation to the prevention and detection at importation of illicit medicines. In addition the IMB and the Customs Service have a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) under which both organisations work closely to detain and prohibit prescription medicines purchased on-line from being imported.

The IMB and the Customs Service deploy operational resources in a targeted and risk-based manner and as a result of specific intelligence. These approaches are reviewed and adjusted based on analysis and evaluation of national and international seizure trends, traffic frequency, routes and other risk indicators.

Revenue's Customs Service also has Memoranda of Understanding with a number of express mail courier service providers and work very closely with these companies, the IMB and the Gardaí to combat the importation of illicit medicines.

In September 2012 the IMB, Revenue Customs Services and An Garda Síochána took part in an international week long operation ‘Pangea V’ which led to the detention of capsules and tablets with an estimated value in excess of €375,000.

The IMB has published an on-line leaflet warning of the dangers from purchasing medicines online.

The enforcement of the law relating to the sale of drugs, including prescription drugs, continues to be a priority in the Government’s commitment to tackling the issue of drug misuse in this jurisdiction.

My Department is reviewing the Misuse of Drugs Regulations with a view to introducing additional controls on certain prescription drugs being traded illicitly, for example benzodiazepine medicines. These additional controls include introducing import and export controls as well as an offence of possession, thereby assisting the law enforcement roles of Customs and of the Garda Síochána.

Health Services Staff Issues

Questions (212)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

212. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Health if a person (details supplied) in County Meath will be permitted to embark on a one year career break to gain further experience in their field of practice; if a reasonable level of flexibility will be shown to them; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21602/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Hospital Appointment Status

Questions (213)

Tom Fleming

Question:

213. Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question No. 1145 of 16 April 2013, when an admissions appointment will be issued for Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21609/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I understand that the HSE will be in contact with the Deputy shortly regarding an appointment for this child which I am advised has been scheduled.

Medical Card Eligibility

Questions (214)

Anthony Lawlor

Question:

214. Deputy Anthony Lawlor asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the fact that a number of GMS patients, who have an in date medical card are being denied medical services under the GMS scheme because PCRS have invalidated their medical card; if he will agree that it is wrong to invalidate a medical card without informing both the patient and the contract holder; if he believes it is wrong that this fact is only coming to light when GPs contact PCRS to confirm medical cards details; if he will explain the reason this practice is occurring; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21610/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I have asked the Health Service Executive for a report on the issue raised by the Deputy. I will revert to the Deputy on the matter as soon as possible.

Hospital Appointment Delays

Questions (215)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

215. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health if he will clarify the reason a referral in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Donegal who is experiencing great discomfort has been cancelled and rescheduled for 15 October 2014; his views on whether this is an appropriate time frame to wait for such an urgent appointment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21611/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The National Waiting List Management Policy, A standardised approach to managing scheduled care treatment for in-patient, day case and planned procedures, January 2013, has been developed to ensure that all administrative, managerial and clinical staff follow an agreed national minimum standard for the management and administration of waiting lists for scheduled care. This policy, which has recently been adopted by the HSE, sets out the processes that hospitals are to implement to manage waiting lists.

In relation to this particular query raised by the Deputy, I have asked the Health Service Executive to investigate the situation and respond directly to the Deputy in this matter.

Water Fluoridation

Questions (216)

Clare Daly

Question:

216. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health the number of water treatment plants that have fluoridation systems installed here; the number that are planned in future programmes of works; and the cost of installation, operation and maintenance since programme commenced [21612/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Health (Fluoridation of Water Supplies Act) 1960 provides for the fluoridation of public water supplies. At present fluoridation facilities are installed in approximately 250 water treatment plants nationally. Water treatment plants developed in the future will also have such facilities. The total cost of fluoridation since it began in 1964 is not readily available. Annual expenditure in recent years which includes operational costs, capital costs and the supply of hydrofluorosilicic acid has been in the region of €3.5 million - €4 million.

Home Help Service Provision

Questions (217)

Seán Fleming

Question:

217. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Health if the home help hours will be improved due to a medical condition in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Carlow; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21616/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.