Denial of pain relief patches to low income patients is inhuman - Senator Rose Conway-Walsh
Today at a meeting of the Health Committee, Senator Rose Conway-Walsh raised the issue of patients who have been informed that the HSE will no longer cover the pain relief drug Versatis.
Speaking at the Committee the Mayo Senator said:
“The decision by the HSE to withdraw the pain killing patch Versatis from these patients is having a huge effect on chronic pain sufferers.
“This decision means that if you have the money you don’t have the pain, but if you don’t have the money you either have to go on Morphine Patches or take drugs that you know are not managing the pain.
“We must remember that all these patients, whether they use these patches or not, require urgent appointments with pain management clinics. I know of a patient in her early 30s who cannot move and is absolutely dependent on the patch.
"She has been waiting since July 2016 for an appointment to attend the pain management clinic in Galway, but has been told that she will have to wait at least another 15 months.
“We have been told repeatedly that this is a matter for the HSE but the Minister for Health needs to intervene on humanitarian grounds.
"There are thousands of such patients throughout the country who are in chronic pain caused by arthritis and other conditions. These patches will continue to be available for sufferers of shingles.
“I asked the Minister how many of these patients will end up on a myriad of other medication, some of which has proved unsuitable in the past and indeed back at doctors’ surgeries and hospitals.
"I also questioned if the HSE has considered the cost-benefit analysis of removing this treatment from such a large number of people.”