Budget 2018 was presented by The Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe TD, on Tuesday October 10th. The main changes which affect pharmacy patients are as follows –
Medical Card Patients
For medical card patients aged under 70 years, the HSE prescription levy will reduce from €2.50 to €2.00 per item from January 1st, 2018. In addition, the maximum monthly charge will be capped at €20 for a family.
Drugs Payment Scheme Patients
The monthly threshold will reduce from €144 to €134 from January 1st. This is the first reduction since the DPS scheme was introduced in Ireland in 1999 and can see annual savings of up to €120 for a family.
The Minister has increased the cost of a packet of 20 cigarettes by 50 cent. This pushes the price over €12 per pack for the first time. It means that a 20-a-day habit is costing the smoker over €4,300 a year. It’s never to late to think about quitting so why not make a positive change for your health and your pocket and check out our stop smoking service.
A sugar tax is planned for April 2018. This will see 30 cent per litre added to drinks containing more than 8g of sugar per 100mls. A reduced rate of 20 cent per litre will apply where the sugar content is between 5g and 8g per 100mls. These measures will hopefully be a starting point in tackling Ireland’s obesity epidemic.
Fortune’s Pharmacy welcomes these changes but we are disappointed that the reduction in DPS and Medical Card payments were not greater.