Alliance supports fair and efficient prescription charge to improve access to specialist drugs

Alliance East Belfast MLA, Chris Lyttle, has responded to the announcement from the Health Minister that he will reintroduce prescription charges in order to fund greater access to specialist treatments and drugs not currently available in Northern Ireland.

Chris Lyttle MLA said: “I welcome the overdue action on this issue from the Health Minister and hope it is evidence of a departure for the DUP from political campaigning against fair revenue raising measures to fund essential services for people in Northern Ireland.

“Alliance has supported the introduction of fair and efficient prescription charges in order to pay for access to specialist drugs that are currently unavailable to patients in Northern Ireland.

“I believe this position will be supported by the majority of people in Northern Ireland, especially as the Health Minister has indicated that there would be protections for those who require long term treatments.

“The Minister must ensure that the administration cost of any new system is kept as low as possible and that as much funding as possible is directed towards greater access to these drugs.

“Alliance supports this proposal but we will continue to seek action to ensure any waste in the system is tackled. We will also be seeking greater transparency as to how the quarterly Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Payment received by the Health and Social Care Board from the UK Department of Health, which amounted to £3million for January to March 2014, is being used if not to fund equal access to cancer drugs for patients in Northern Ireland.

“I hope the outcome of this decision will bring increased access to much needed life extending drugs for patients and their families in Northern Ireland”.


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