Thursday, 20 June 2013

Ceisteanna (241)

Dominic Hannigan

Ceist:

241. Deputy Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Health his plans to require pharmaceutical companies to package prescriptions in boxes of 30 or 31 depending on the month of the year to reduce costs for persons who buy monthly medication; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29838/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

There is no legislation or agreement that deals with the quantity of prescription tablets to be included in a monthly pack. This is at the discretion of the marketing authorisation holders. The standard industry practice across Europe is for prescription tablets to be packaged in sizes of 28, as this number has been found to be convenient for patients. Where the quantity of a preparation prescribed does not correspond with an original pack size and it is not feasible to supply the exact amount prescribed, the pharmacist may, in the exercise of his or her professional judgement and bearing in mind the nature of the product and his or her statutory obligations, supply the nearest pack size to the quantity prescribed.

It is a condition of the Drug Payment Scheme that no individual or family grouping will pay more than €144 in a calendar month (i.e.€144 x 12 in a full year). The payment of a second €144 (in the same pharmacy) should only arise when a person is intentionally getting the next month’s supply on the grounds that he/she will be away the following month or for other such reason. To ensure that an individual or family makes no more than 12 payments in a year it is suggested by the HSE that, where appropriate, once in a 12-month period or periodically throughout the year more than a 28-day supply is given. The packaging will influence how this can be achieved.