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The Catalan Government keeps the drug prescription fee despite Madrid’s additional measures

The day after the Spanish Government imposed increasing the price citizens pay for medication, the Spokesperson for the Catalan Government confirmed that Catalonia will maintain the €1 drug prescription fee. The Catalan Health Minister had said earlier they would study if the drug prescription fee would be implemented. The main doctors union and Left-Wing opposition parties asked the Catalan Government to eliminate the drug prescription fee, because it would make Catalan citizens pay more for their medication than the rest of Spanish citizens.

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19 April 2012 09:56 PM

by

ACN / Patricia Mateos

Barcelona (ACN).- The Spokesperson for the Catalan Government, Francesc Homs, announced on Thursday that the drug prescription fee will be maintained because the measures imposed by the Spanish Government are \u201Cinsufficient\u201D. After yesterday\u2019s meeting with the Spanish Health Minister and his counterparts from the Autonomies, the Catalan Health Minister, Boi Ruiz, said they would study if the drug prescription fee was to be kept or not. In the meeting, it was decided that Spaniards would pay for a greater share of the price at the pharmacy. In addition, in Catalonia, from next June, citizens will have to pay \u20AC1 for each drug prescription, although some exceptions and limitations will be established. The Catalan Health Minister said on Wednesday that they \u201Cwill look to see if these measures represent an additional effort by Catalan citizens\u201D, something he repeated early on Thursday. Left-Wing opposition parties \u2013mainly the Catalan Socialists (PSC), the Catalan Independence Party (ERC), and the Green Socialists (ICV)\u2013 had asked the Catalan Government to eliminate the \u20AC1 drug prescription fee as it would be added to the Spanish Government\u2019s measures and Catalan citizens would pay more for their medication than the rest of Spain's citizens. Furthermore, the main Catalan doctors union \u2018Metges de Catalunya\u2019 asked for the drug prescription fee to be eliminated, and they consider the Spanish Government\u2019s proposal \u201Cfairer\u201D as they think it better takes into consideration income levels.


The Catalan Government\u2019s Spokesperson confirmed at noon that the drug prescription fee will not be eliminated since the Spanish Government\u2019s measures are \u201Cinsufficient\u201D, he said. Homs said that the drug prescription fee represents a maximum of \u20AC62 per person per year and its objective is \u201Cnot so much for tax collection\u201D purposes but instead it has been implemented as a \u201Cdissuasive\u201D measure, in order to reduce the abuse of pharmaceutical products. Furthermore, Homs asked the Spanish Government \u201Cto copy\u201D other European countries where citizens pay for part of the public healthcare services. He mentioned examples in Germany, France, Belgium or Sweden. The Catalan Government\u2019s Spokesperson asked the Spanish Government to adopt further measures \u201Cto guarantee the Welfare State\u201D, \u201Cas they have decisive powers\u201D.

 

Catalonia\u2019s drug prescription fee

 

Catalan citizens will have to pay a \u20AC1 fee for each drug prescription from June onwards. However, neither low income earners will have to pay the fee: nor those on non-contributory pensions, receivers of the minimum income integration grant, and chronically-ill patients. Furthermore, the fee will not be charged for medication that costs less than \u20AC1.67 and after 62 prescriptions in one year. The Catalan Government expects to obtain \u20AC180 million in additional revenue in 2013, as the fee will also reduce spending due to its dissuasive impact.

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  • A pharmacy in downtown Barcelona (by R. Pagano)

  • A pharmacy in downtown Barcelona (by R. Pagano)