Since the late 1980s successive Fianna Fáil governments have devastated the health service, cutting bed numbers from over 18,000 to just over 10,000. Our bed numbers per head of population are now 2.8 per 1000 compared to an EU average of 4.8 beds per 1000 population. The majority of these cuts were under Fianna Fáil Governements. Equally staffing levels and incomes of health workers were slashed by the last Fianna Fail Government. Fine Gael are just following on in Fianna Fáil’s footsteps.
Gino Kenny TD, of People Before Profit said, “The notion that Fianna Fáil could in all conscience criticise anyone for their record in health is laughable. But this is particularly true for Drug costs.”
Between 2002 and 2008 when Fianna Fáil were in power and Micheál Martin was Minister for Health drug costs and particularly pharmacy fees and other income earned by pharmacies doubled from €800 million to €1.6 billion.
Deputy Kenny continued to say, “There is no doubt drug costs need to come down. The cost of drug spending in Ireland is more than double that in Denmark and Ireland spends 77% more per capita on drugs annually than Norway — the richest country in Europe.
“However Ireland still negotiates its prices around countries where prices are higher rather than countries where prices are cheaper. In contrast with the rest of the EU, generic prices in Ireland are not lower than branded drug prices.”
The recent €12 million payment to the HSE from an overpayment of Pharmacy fees highlights wider, systemic problems with our health service,
In order to urgently address the problems of access to drugs and the extremely high cost of drugs in Ireland we therefore call on the Government to;
– Desist from removing drugs covered by the GMS medical card and abolish prescription charges;
– Set up a national State Pharmacy that can offer drugs at prices equivalent to other EU countries such as Denmark
– Reverse the cuts to earnings and staffing levels of health care worker