Reductions in prescription costs welcome
- Budget lacks ambition for pharmacy and healthcare in the community
8 October 2020: The Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU), which represents over 2,200 pharmacists across the country, has welcomed the reduction in the prescription charge of 50 cent, but said that Budget 2020 represents yet another missed opportunity to improve Ireland’s health system by expanding pharmacy-based services.
Responding to Budget 2020, IPU Secretary General Darragh O’Loughlin said, “The reduction in prescription charges of 50 cent is extremely welcome. This is a recognition that the charge is a blunt and unfair tax that targets some of the most vulnerable in our society. The Government should therefore go further and abolish it for all medical card patients to ensure cost is never a barrier to treatment.”
Criticising the Government for a lack of ambition when it comes to the pharmacy sector, Mr O’Loughlin said, “We have consistently put forward proposals aimed at expanding the care pharmacists can deliver in their communities. This would help patients nationwide and alleviate pressure in other parts of the health system including GPs and hospitals. Unfortunately, once again the Government has utterly failed to deliver these opportunities, which would improve patients’ access to healthcare in the community, a key priority of the Government’s own health strategy.”
“For example, in response to the capacity crisis that appears to be impacting on GPs across the country the IPU has long advocated for a Minor Ailment Scheme to allow medical card patients to receive treatment for common illnesses directly from their local community pharmacy without the need for a visit to the GP, but it often appears that our constructive proposals are falling on deaf ears.”
Concluding Mr O’Loughlin said “The reduction of €10 in monthly threshold of the Drugs Payment Scheme (DPS) to €114 from €124 is also to be welcomed. It follows a similar reduction last year and we hope that this trend will continue to alleviate any pressures associated with the costs of prescription medication. The price of prescription medicines in pharmacies has reduced dramatically; it’s time the Government’s charges on patients followed suit”
For further information contact: Siobhán Kane, Press and Communications Manager, 087 775 1510