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Friday 1 December 2023 Dublin: -2°C
Sam Boal/ Health Minister Simon Harris made the announcement today.
easing the burden

Prescriptions are going to be cheaper for over-70s with a medical card from tomorrow

Those eligible are advised to make themselves known to pharmacy staff so they can benefit from this reduction.

MINISTER FOR HEALTH Simon Harris has announced that medical card holders over 70 years of age, including their dependents, will have to pay less for their prescriptions from tomorrow.

From Wednesday 1 March, the cost for a prescription will be reduced from €2.50 to €2 per item. The maximum monthly limit will also be reduced from €25 to €20.

The department said in a statement that over 390,000 medical card holders would benefit from the new reductions.

Harris said: “Naturally as we grow older, we require more medical help and assistance and from tomorrow, 390,000 of our older friends and family will pay less for their medicines.”

The Minister added that implementing a reduced cost for over-70s was a key part of the Programme for Government.

The Irish Pharmacy Union, however, said that this reduction was only “the first step” in necessary reforms to the cost of prescriptions.

In the long term, it would rather see no charge placed on prescriptions for medical card holders over the age of 70.

Its President Daragh Connolly said: “We would hope that this is only a first step at phasing out the levy, which has put economic barriers in the way of patients taking their medicines.

At the very least, we would call on the Minister to review the application of the levy and not apply it to vulnerable patients, such as those in residential care settings, homeless patients, patients with intellectual disabilities and palliative care patients.

Connolly added that putting a cost to prescriptions for medical card holders risks the health of those who can’t afford to pay for these medicines.

The Irish Pharmacy Union advises all medical card holders aged 70 and over to make themselves known to pharmacy staff so they can benefit from this reduction from tomorrow.

The HSE also welcomed the measure, asking people to remind their pharmacist if they are eligible.

Read: Cash, drugs and fake tan among the most common items stolen from pharmacies

Read: Use antibiotics as a ‘quick fix’ for a cold? It won’t work and could be very damaging

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