One in four Irish people are not taking the medication they’ve been prescribed because the €2.50 prescription charge puts the drugs beyond their budget.
Now pharmacists have voted in favour of a motion calling for the phased abolition of the prescription levy, which has increased fivefold since it was first introduced in June 2010 at €0.50 per item.
Pharmacist and member of the IPU’s Pharmacy Contractors Committee Ciara McCabe said,
“Many patients, particularly those on fixed incomes, just cannot afford to pay the levy. Instead, they gamble with their health every day either by reducing their medication or by stopping it entirely. The ultimate outcome is sicker patients, with more complex medical needs, needing advanced care in an already extremely overburdened health system.
“People living with long term conditions like asthma, COPD or heart disease, especially those at risk of exacerbations of their illness, should be focusing on getting better and keeping well, not worrying about how they’re going to pay for their next vital prescription.”
Pharmacists are calling on the government to ‘support, not penalise’ patients.