Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Questions (265)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin


265. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question No. 677 of 2 July 2013, and in view of the recent announcement of cost saving measures (details supplied) removing the 20% retail mark up for pharmacists, if a person who has both a medical card and a long term illness card will now be able to avail of long term illness prescriptions free of charge; the date on which these new measures come into effect; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35765/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Persons suffering from prescribed conditions, who are not already medical card holders, can get free drugs, medicines and medical and surgical appliances for the treatment of that condition under the Long Term Illness Scheme. Medical card holders are required to pay prescription charges. Prescription charges are not payable in respect of items supplied under the Long Term Illness Scheme. In the case of persons who have both the medical card and LTI, the HSE policy is that they should use their medical card to access medicines. The main reason for this is that the supply of medicines under the LTI costs the HSE considerably more than under the GMS Scheme. A retail mark-up of 20% is payable to pharmacists for items supplied under the LTI Scheme. However, following a review of the rates of fees payable to health professionals (under the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act, 2009) my colleague, Minister Reilly, announced (on the 2nd of July) the elimination of the retail mark-up. Regulations are being prepared to give effect to this decision. There is no retail mark-up for items supplied under the GMS Scheme. The decision by the previous Government not to extend prescription charges to the Long Term Illness Scheme gave rise to the anomaly identified by the Deputy. This matter is under review.