Thursday, 24 October 2013

Questions (247, 265)

Billy Timmins

Question:

247. Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Health if, in view of the hardship and distress that the announced increase in prescription charges for medical card holders is causing, if the monthly charge will be capped at €10; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45433/13]

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Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

265. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health the revenue raised from the prescription charge for each of the years since its introduction [45506/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 247 and 265 together.

As announced in Budget 2014, it has become necessary to increase the prescription charge due to the very difficult and challenging economic environment which requires the Government to achieve additional savings in health expenditure with €666 million of savings targeted in 2014. The increase in prescription charges will account for €43 million of this target. The Government is committed to achieving these savings while protecting front line services to the most vulnerable to the greatest extent possible.

Medical card holders will be required to pay a €2.50 charge per item for medicines and other prescription items supplied to them by community pharmacists, subject to a cap of €25 per month for each person or family. Prescription charges do not apply to children in the care of the HSE or to methadone supplied to patients participating in the Methadone Treatment Scheme. These new rates will be effective from 1 December 2013.

The revenue raised from the prescription charge for each of the years since its introduction is as follows:

2010 - €4.167 million

2011 - €27.604 million

2012 - €29.70 million

Question No. 248 answered with Question No. 236.