Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (1591)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

1591. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health the measures he is taking in budget 2020 to reduce charges for cancer patients; the estimated cost of reducing the drugs payment scheme threshold to €100 for families and €72 for single persons, respectively; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33462/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Drugs Payment Scheme (DPS) is a non-means tested scheme which is open to any person who is ordinarily resident in the State, regardless of illness. 

Under the scheme, no individual or family pays more than €124 a month towards the cost of approved prescribed medicines. The scheme significantly reduces the cost burden for families and individuals with ongoing expenditure on medicines. 

The Programme for Partnership Government contains a commitment to reduce the cost of medicines. In line with this commitment, I announced a reduction in the DPS threshold, from €134 to €124 a month, as part of Budget 2019 and this reduction was implemented on 1 April 2019. 

 I intend to consider further proposals for reductions in the DPS threshold, in the context of the implementation of the health commitments in the Programme for Government and with regard to the funding available. However, at present I have no plans to reduce the DPS threshold for specific illnesses. 

The estimated cost of reducing the DPS monthly threshold to €100 is €25.2 million.

The estimated cost of reducing the DPS threshold for a single-headed household to €72 is €8.3 million, where a single headed household is defined as one eligible DPS patient on a family card in a claim month.