Thousands who lost their medical cards overpaying for medication
THOUSANDS of people who lost their medical cards could be overpaying for their medication due to an anomaly which can occur when joining the Drugs Payment Scheme.
Under the scheme, aimed at private patients, an individual or family pays €144 each month for all of their prescription medicines.
While the scheme sets out that customers will not pay more than this figure per calendar month, many GPs prescribe medical card holders 28 days of medication each month, a method which is not automatically changed when these customers sign up to the scheme.
This means that these customers are then forced to pay an additional €144 per year to make up for the shortfall in medication, due to the fact that there are more than 28 days in most months.
Chairman of the Irish Medical Organisation GP committee Dr Raymond Walley said that GPs usually prescribe drugs to medical card holders for cycles of seven days so customers are more likely to realise if they have taken their medication incorrectly.
He said medical card holders pay €2.50 for 13 applications of their prescription per year, because there are 13 cycles of 28 days per 365 days.
He explained that some GPs fail to update this to 12 applications when customers bring their prescriptions over to the Drugs Payment Scheme.
"It is an anomaly that the Department of Health have created with their medical card prescription charge which they're aware of."
Mr Walley said the onus was on the patient to ensure their GP was prescribing them with a prescription of 30 days of medication, rather than 28.