Since April 2007, everyone in Wales has been exempt from prescription charges and Huw is this week marking the tenth anniversary of the popular free prescriptions policy.
In contrast to England where people are subject to prescription charges, there is no automatic exemption for people with Asthma, Parkinson’s Disease, some heart conditions, Crohn’s and Colitis, anxiety or depression.
Huw said: “Prescriptions charges are a tax on illness and completely unfair, in some instances forcing people to choose between paying for medicines and paying for food. Free prescriptions have saved money for people with long term conditions and freed up pharmacists to spend more time with patients. I am proud that 10 years on, the Welsh Labour Government is continuing to make prescriptions free for people and that my constituents across Ogmore do not have to face these increasing charges, which currently cost £8.40 per item.”
Research carried out in England by Rethink Mental Illness showed that 38% of people with severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia have had to choose between paying household bills and paying prescription charges. The Prescription Charges Coalition carried out research “Paying the Price” which states that: “35% of those who had paid for each prescription item had not collected medication because of the cost. Three quarters of this group said their health had got worse as a result. 10% reported that they had been admitted to hospital as a direct consequence of not taking their medicine as prescribed.”