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Drugs savings achieved show that proposed prescription charges should be scrapped – Ó Caoláin

1 February, 2010 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Sinn Féin Health & Children spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has welcomed the agreement between drugs manufacturers and Health & Children Minister Mary Harney which is expected to save the State up to €94 million in a full year on the cost of drugs.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said the extent of savings showed the profiteering that had gone on for years and he called on the Minister to scrap the proposed prescription charges for medical card patients.

Deputy Ó Caoláin:

“I welcome the agreement between the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (IPHA) and the Minister for Health & Children Mary Harney. Action such as this from the Minister to reduce the grossly inflated cost of drugs was long overdue. The fact that up to €94 million is expected to be saved by the State in a full year shows clearly that there has been massive profiteering by the drugs manufacturers for many years.

“I believe that more savings can still be made in the cost of manufacture and distribution of drugs for our health services. The cost should be borne by the highly paid directors, executives and shareholders of the pharmaceutical companies, not by the patient or by the hard-pressed taxpayer. For that reason the Minister for Health & Children should scrap plans to impose prescription charges of up to €10 per month on all medical card holders.

“These charges will undermine the medical card system and add to the burden borne by the least well off who have already been hit hard by social welfare cuts. The charges are unfair and clearly unnecessary from a cost point of view and Sinn Féin will strongly oppose the Prescription Charges Bill when it is introduced by the Fianna Fáil/Green Government.” ENDS

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