Families to save €120 on the cost of medicines
Families will see a monthly reduction of €10 in the cost of medicine under the Drugs Payment Scheme from today, as agreed in Budget 2018.
An individual or family in Ireland now only has to pay €134 instead of €144 each month for approved prescribed drugs, medicines or rental costs for CPAP/oxygen.
As a result of the change, which comes into effect today, families could save up to €120 a year in medication costs.
This scheme is aimed at those who do not have a medical card and normally have to pay the full cost of their medication.
Health Minister Simon Harris said he was "delighted" to announce the reduction in line with commitments in the Programme for a Partnership Government.
"In addition, nearly 500,000 medical card holders under the age of 70 are to save up to €60 this year from the reduction in the prescription charge to €2 per item and the maximum charge to €20 per month.
"Reducing the cost of medicines for families is a key commitment for me as minister, and for this Government.
"The measures announced in Budget 2018 build on the progress in Budget 2017, when I reduced the prescription charge for over-70s.
"In line with the recommendations of Sláintecare, and subject to available resources, it is my intention to build upon these initiatives in future years and continue to reduce the cost of medicines for families."
The Drugs Payment Scheme also applies to those who have a GP visit card. Anyone resident in Ireland can apply to join the scheme, regardless of family, financial circumstances or nationality.
Budget 2018 represents an overall increase of €608m (4.4pc) in health spending compared to the 2017 Budget allocation.
An investment of €10m has also been set aside for respite care, with the aim of providing support to 400 individuals with a disability and their families.