People who buy prescription drugs in Connacht spend an average of €79.46 on these treatments each month, according to the Teva Cost of Medicines Index. This is 28 per cent higher than the national average of €61.77.
The Cost of Medicines Index also shows that people buying over-the-counter (OTC ) medicines in Connacht spend over €23 each month (€23.32 ) on these medicines, which is 26 per cent higher than the national average. It is not surprising to learn then that almost three in five people in Connacht (58 per cent ) are concerned about their ability to meet the cost of their medicines.
Yet despite this, awareness levels of how to reduce the cost of medicines are very low. Just 10 per cent in the province cited the Drugs Repayment Scheme as a means to reduce costs, while only one in 50 Connacht people (two per cent ) is aware that in many cases there are lower cost identical drug alternatives (generic medicines ) available. These alternatives could replace the branded prescription drugs that many people are now using.
Sandra Gannon, general manager of Teva Pharmaceuticals Ireland’s commercial operation, said: “We are all conscious of the rising costs of drugs and medicines in Ireland, and of the rapidly growing numbers of older people in the population, so it is astonishing to learn that consumers are largely unaware of the steps they can take to cut their health costs in relation to medicines. I hope that by publishing the Teva Cost of Medicines Index we will help to raise people’s awareness of the savings that can be made by switching to generic medicines. If you are concerned about the cost of your medications you should always ask your doctor or pharmacist about lower cost options.”
On average, Irish people fill seven prescriptions per year. However when we compare medical card holders (MCHs ) to non-holders, we see that the average number of prescriptions each year is almost double for MCHs (10 ) compared to non-holders (5.8 ). There is also a disparity between the sexes. Women fill on average 8.4 prescriptions a year, while men fill 5.6 of them. Fifteen per cent of those surveyed say they filled no prescriptions in the last year. For your copy of the Teva Cost of Medicines Index, send an e-mail to [email protected].