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