Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Ceisteanna (475, 502)

Stephen Donnelly

Ceist:

475. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Health his position on categorising colitis as a long-term illness; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11044/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

502. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health if it is the case that those patients on the long-term illness scheme and with a medical card are liable for the prescription charge fee; if there have been recent changes regarding same; the date on which these came into effect; his views on the case of a person (details provided) in County Meath; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11187/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 475 and 502 together.

There are no plans to extend the list of conditions covered by the Long Term Illness Scheme. Under the Drug Payment Scheme, no individual or family pays more than €144 per calendar month towards the cost of approved prescribed medicines. The scheme significantly reduces the cost burden for families and individuals incurring ongoing expenditure on medicines. In addition, people who cannot, without undue hardship, arrange for the provision of medical services for themselves and their dependants may be entitled to a medical card. In the assessment process, the Health Service Executive can take into account medical costs incurred by an individual or a family. Those who are not eligible for a medical card may still be able to avail of a GP visit card, which covers the cost of general practice consultation.

Medical card holders are required to pay prescription charges. 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 medical card scheme. A retail mark-up of 20% is payable to pharmacists for items supplied under the LTI scheme but there is no mark up for items supplied under the GMS scheme.