Prescription charge hike begins to bite

300% increase in charge per item causing people to leave vital medicines on pharmacy counters


Workers’ Party Councillor Ted Tynan has said that the trebling of Prescription Charges for medical card holders from 50 cents to €1.50 is causing massive hardship to people and he feared that patients would leave essential medication behind on the pharmacist’s counter because they could not afford to pay for it.

Cllr. Tynan said that the increase, which was part of December’s budget, was only now kicking in and that people collecting monthly prescriptions over the past week or two were being shocked to have to pay three times what they had paid in December for medication that was supposed to be free to them.

The Mayfield based councillor said he had already been contacted by several constituents expressing dismay at the new charges, with some fearing that they or their relatives may forego vital medication for conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes in order to pay utility bills.

“When these charges were introduced by the Fianna Fáil / Green coalition just over two years ago they were roundly condemned by Fine Gael and Labour.  Now the charges have been trebled overnight and there is a very real fear among medical card holders that these charges will increase again next year to the point where the medical card will barely be worth having.  Combine this with the government’s pledge to drastically reduce the number of cards issued and these fears are very justified”, said Cllr. Tynan.

He concluded: “The government has once attacked the most vulnerable instead of taking on the vested interests in the pharma sector who are responsible for the high cost of drugs in this country.  For all their talk about reforming the health service the present government is merely continuing and increasing the misery caused by the previous one”

Issued 15th January 2013

Peace, Work, Democracy & Class Politics