Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Questions (711)

Michael Healy-Rae


711. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health his views on correspondence (details supplied) regarding prescriptions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23030/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As announced in Budget 2014, it was 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 €619 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.

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. There are no plans at present to provide for further exemptions from prescription charges.

However, this case raises policy issues around the implementation of prescription charges which I will consider further.