Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has called on the Irish Government to explain why the pain relief medication plaster Versatis costs so much more here than in other EU countries.
The Ireland South MEP submitted a question to the European Union on the costs of the medication following a meeting with the Patch Us Back Up group in Cork earlier this month.
“While the main issue raised in the meeting was the withdrawal of the pain patches from some patients by the HSE, another issue raised was why Versatis is so prohibitively expensive in Ireland as opposed to other EU countries,” she said.
“I submitted a question to the EU on this subject and was assured by the European Commission that the pricing of medicines was solely a member state issue.
“Unless the suppliers of Versatis are for some reason charging the Irish Government significantly more than they are other countries it does not leave very many other possibilities as to why the drug is so expensive here.
“The Government and the HSE need to make perfectly clear why there is such a discrepancy in pricing between here and Europe.
“People rely on these patches in order to retain some semblance of a normal life. If they are being removed from some people and completely unaffordable to others then what our Government is saying is that the poor deserve pain.
“This is a completely unacceptable attitude to have within our Government and a particularly despicable on when it comes to our health service.
“These patches are not a luxury item for those who need them, they merely make every day life bearable. They are for those in constant or chronic pain, people who would otherwise not be able to do all the ordinary things we take for granted every day, people for whom the removal of these patches has been tantamount to a prison sentence.
“This government needs to explain why the pain relief these patches offer is now a privilege only afforded to the well off.”