MLA Ross backs ‘modest’ prescription charges

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East Antrim MLA Alastair Ross says that the Health Minister’s suggestion to bring back modest prescription charges “makes sense” and that it mirrors similar proposals he put forward in December 2011.

Mr Ross commented: “Back in December 2011 I proposed the establishment of a Cancer Drugs Fund for Northern Ireland, and suggested that the way in which this could be paid for was by a modest prescription charge. That motion was supported by the Assembly, so it is sensible that the Minister would now suggest similar proposals in order to make available potentially life-extending drugs to patients in Northern Ireland.

“The vast majority of people would not object to paying a modest sum of £1 for a prescription, and those who require a high volume of prescriptions would be offered the opportunity to buy a ‘season ticket’ for again a relatively modest cost of £25 for the twelve month period.

“Sadly since the introduction of free prescriptions we have seen the system abused by some people, claiming over-the-counter products on prescriptions or ordering more medicine than they need.

“I hope that the public will engage in this consultation and indicate if they would support a small charge for prescriptions in order to make potentially lifesaving or life-extending drugs available to patients in Northern Ireland.”