Public split on prescription charge
Public opinion is divided down the middle over a prescription charge for medical card holders, researchers revealed.
As the Irish Medical Organisation debates the introduction of the 50 cents levy, new figures show people are evenly split on the issue.
The Teva Pharmaceuticals survey found 51pc of respondents were willing to pay the charge while 48pc were against the Government's plans.
Men were 3pc more likely to be in favour of a 50 cents charge than women, while the figures for different age groups were also very close.
There was more opposition to the charge from people in lower socio-economic groups, however, with 54pc against it compared with 40pc from the middle and upper classes.
"The research indicates that the scale of the charge is not the deciding factor - it seems as if people were either for or against the charge in principle," Teva Ireland's general manager Sandra Gannon said.
"We asked people about the introduction of a 50 cents charge - but we also asked them for their views on a smaller charge of 25 cents and the figures were not hugely different."
The survey found the average monthly spend on prescription drugs last year was €19.32 - a decrease of €8.96 from 2008.
The typical amount spent on over-the-counter drugs in 2009 was €8.83 euro - 25pc less than the previous 12 months.