Hike in medical card prescription charge in Budget 2014

Medical card holders will soon be charged €2.50 per prescribed medication after the government increased the prescription charge by €1 in last week’s budget.

The increase in the charge, which was introduced as a 50c charge in 2011 and rose to €1.50 in last year’s budget, will come into affect from January next year.

Under the General Medical Services (GMS) scheme, visits to your GP are free if you have a medical card. However the on-campus doctor does not see students under the GMS scheme and students with medical cards must also pay the €20 doctors fee. This fee has increased by 100% since last year, when it was introduced as €10.

DCU students with medical cards who visit the DCU doctor and are prescribed medication can’t have their prescription prescribed to them on the medical card and are instead given it on a private prescription. They must pay the full price for the medication, instead of the €2.50 charge per item.

An example would be if a DCU student with a medical card was suffering from a chest infection, it would cost the student €20 to see the DCU doctor and €17.89 for the Klaram LA Antibiotic the doctor would prescribe for the chest infection.

Sick DCU students who cannot afford to visit the DCU doctor or their prescriptions must go off-campus to seek medical treatment from a doctor that does have a GMS contract with the HSE and can see them for free as well as prescribe them medication on their medical card.

“I hate to see students having problems paying for their medication”, Geraldine who works in the on-campus pharmacy, Pharmhealth, told The College View.

“It’s a Catch-22 for students, who may be coming to DCU from Kerry or from Donegal – if they wait until they travel home at the weekends to see their doctor, the clinics there might be closed and if they’re in college all week they might not be able to afford to get the care they need”, she added.

(Medicine price figures quoted above were provided by Pharmacist Morgan O’Connell from Blackglen Pharmacy in Sandyford.)

Theresa Newman

Image Credit: Flickr Via CreativeCommons

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