[Sinn Fein]

12th June 2003

Health inflation must be tackled - Ó Caoláin

Commenting on the latest Consumer Price Index figures, Sinn Fein spokesperson on Finance and on Health, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD, said the Government must tackle inflation in health service costs. He said:

``The Consumer Price Index shows that health costs rose by nearly 8% in the past year with the increase in the cost of medical products and higher fees for medical practitioners. This is another element in the health crisis. People on incomes which fall just above the limit for Medical Card qualification are unable to afford visits to doctors and dentists or to buy the medicines they require.

``Government action is needed urgently to reduce the cost of drugs in particular. Pharmaceutical companies are profiting massively while people in need are denied the drugs they need. There needs to be government control of prices and the Minister for Health and Children must take initiatives to promote the use of generic drugs in the health services. Generic drugs cost approximately 30% less than proprietary drugs and there is a potential for a significant saving in costs.'' ENDS

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