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What we have to say about your health and well being
31
Aug 2013
Prescription Costs
Here at McNallys we are dedicated to giving our customers good value for their money. As a result we have a customer base that extends to all 26 counties in the south. Here is a recent article that was published in the Irish Independent regarding cross border prescription price discrepancies. Reilly must act on the price of medicines here AT a time when money is scarce and every penny counts for the average family, the least people should be able to expect is that their Government doesn't – through either design or inaction – add to their financial woes. But the cost of prescription medicines, which are a jawdropping seven times dearer in the Republic than the North, is one such case. The Consumer Association, among others, has pointed out, on numerous occasions, that the method of structuring prices here is grossly unfair. Surely it is time that Health MinisterJames Reilly took a firm stand on this disgraceful situation. For example, a month's supply of Atorvastatin – a generic cholesterol-lowering drug – costs as much as €41.59 in one pharmacy in the Republic, compared with just €5.88 in Newry. Added up over a year, that is a difference of more than €400. In the case of low-dosage aspirin, the price in the North is a quarter of what it is in some southern pharmacies. It costs €2.11 for a month's supply in Newry, but €9.12 in the Republic. The reason for outrageous discrepancies like this – and there are numerous other examples – is because the ex-factory price of generic and patented drugs set by the State and manufacturers is higher in the Republic than other European countries. It seems too that the UK also has a much stronger generic tradition, with 80pc of drugs there generic, versus just 18pc here. The HSE is bringing in new measures to reduce the price of generic drugs, with the price of Atorvastatin set to fall by 20pc next month and others to follow. But Atorvastatin will still remain about four times dearer than inNorthern Ireland. The Consumers' Association of Ireland's chief executive Dermott Jewell said: "At a time when people are struggling to afford the basics of life, it is outrageous that the price of medicine is still so astronomically high. We have pointed out many, many times that the method of structuring prices is unfair and the Minister for Health James Reilly needs to look at this once and for all." Minister Reilly indeed does need to focus his attention on this issue and then to act decisively. And quickly.
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