Written answers

Thursday, 29 September 2022

Photo of Richard BrutonRichard Bruton (Dublin Bay North, Fine Gael)
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266. To ask the Minister for Health if he has considered the provision of support on the medical card for patients whose treatment requires an expensive diet. [47814/22]

Photo of Stephen DonnellyStephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Fianna Fail)
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The Health Service Executive (HSE) has statutory responsibility for decisions on pricing and reimbursement of medicines and medical items, in accordance with the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013.

In line with the 2013 Act and the national framework agreed with industry, a company must submit an application to the HSE to have a new medicine added to the formal Reimbursement list. Reimbursement is for licensed indications which have been granted market authorisation by the European Medicines Agency or the Health Products Regulatory Authority. In making a relevant reimbursement decision, the HSE is required under the Act to have regard to a number of criteria including efficacy, the health needs of the public, cost effectiveness and potential or actual budget impact.

Gluten-free products were removed from the list of reimbursable items under the General Medical Services (GMS) scheme, with several other products, in September 2012. The marketplace has evolved whereby such products are widely available in supermarkets at a more reasonable price than was historically costed to the State when they were available in pharmacies through the statutory schemes, and without incurring the further extra costs of a dispensing fee. There are currently no plans to reinstate these products on the list of reimbursable items under the GMS and other community drug schemes.

A person can claim tax relief for certain food products if they have specific dietary requirements due to a medical condition. Details of this scheme are available at www.revenue.ie/en/personal-tax-credits-reliefs-and-exemptions/health-and-age/health-expenses/additional-diet-expenses-for-coeliacs-and-diabetics.aspx.


Gill Brennan
Posted on 3 Oct 2022 5:05 pm (Report this comment)

The Minister has provided the stock answer in relation to support for diets required for medical reasons - such as gluten free food for the almost 85,000 coeliacs in Ireland today. This answer goes some way to support this cohort, in particular the number within that group that are in the PAYE system. But what about the numbers NOT in the PAYE system? How does the Minister propose that they are supported?

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