Emergency regulations to make it easier for patients to access prescriptions
An important development for anyone with a prescription.
On Friday morning, Minister for Health Simon Harris signed new regulations that will allow for easier access to prescriptions.
The purpose of the regulations is to reduce the need for people to attend their GP's office during the coronavirus outbreak.
Until now, the maximum validity of any prescription in Ireland has been six months. The new set of regulations will see this period increased to nine months.
Harris also signed the Medicinal Products (Prescription and Control of Supply) (Amendment) Regulations 2020, which allows for the electronic transfer of prescriptions to a pharmacy via an approved electronic system (the HSE's Healthmail system).
It will also now be at the discretion of the pharmacist whether to continue to provide medicine on the basis of expired repeat prescriptions if the patient is unable to renew their prescription.
The relevant regulation states: "Where it is the professional judgement of the pharmacist that it is safe, appropriate and necessary for the continued treatment of the person for a further supply to be made, and it is unreasonable at this time for the person to obtain a new prescription, then the pharmacist can make further supplies against existing prescriptions for certain types of medicines."
Speaking today after the signing these new regulations, Harris said: "We are asking people to stay home. We know many people will still require access to important medicines and that is why we are introducing these measures.
"However, I also want to remind patients and the general public not to seek supplies of medicines over and above their normal requirements. Doing so will hamper the supply of medicines for others.
"The changes we will make today will relieve the pressure on GPs and pharmacists. Crucially, it will reduce the need for people to visit their GP or pharmacy during this pandemic."