Monday, August 10, 2009

Dispensing with the niceties

From the Irish Times:
The pharmacy dispute over the State drugs scheme is already leaving many people with chronic conditions stranded, but its potential impact could yet be greater

This day last week, the ongoing pharmacy dispute began, with the withdrawal of several hundred pharmacies from the State drugs scheme, the system that issues prescriptions to medical card holders and those on the drugs payment scheme. Prior to the dispute, 1,521 pharmacies had a contract with the Health Service Executive (HSE) to dispense these prescriptions.

At its core, the dispute is about money. Last year, participating pharmacists were paid a total of €540 million to dispense drugs under the community drugs scheme. As part of an ongoing series of cutbacks, the Government decided to reduce the payments it made to pharmacies to carry out this service.

Towards the end of last month, Minister for Health Mary Harney declared that even with the new cuts in payments from the Government, participating pharmacies would still keep a margin of 25 per cent on the drugs they dispensed.

“I believe that pharmacists will still continue to be adequately rewarded for the huge skill that they bring in dispensing medicines to our patients,” she said. ...more

No comments: