I propose to take Questions Nos. 217 and 218 together.
As part of Budget 2020, the previous Government announced two measures intended to reduce the cost of medicines:
- GMS prescription charges would be reduced by €0.50c for all medical card holders. The charge would be reduced by €0.50c to €1 per item for the over 70s and by €0.50c to €1.50 for persons under70. The maximum monthly charge would also be reduced to €10 and €15 espectively.
- The monthly threshold of €124 for the Drugs Payment Scheme (DPS) would be reduced by €10 to €114 per household.
The funding of these measures was predicated on the achievement of corresponding savings in the health budget in 2020. It has not been possible to achieve these savings to date and therefore I am not in a position at present to progress the changes to prescription charges. I will keep this matter under review in the light of the funding available to the health service in 2020 and 2021.