HEALTH FUNDING

Galicia premier calls for charges on prescriptions to be applied nationwide

Popular Party chief proposes pricing medicines based on family income

Madrid -

Galician regional premier Alberto Núñez Feijóo said Thursday that Spaniards should have to pay for some medicines based on their income levels and has asked fellow Popular Party (PP) members to study his proposal.

Feijóo, who served as president of national health system Insalud under former Prime Minister José María Aznar, has been campaigning for his measure within the PP as a remedy for cutting medical costs currently borne by the regions. Under his plan, certain expensive medicines will be charged to patients based on their income.

The government in Catalonia has already announced that it will introduce a symbolic one-euro charge with every prescription filled. PP lawmakers in the northeast region abstained when they had to vote on the plan, but the idea has now sparked debate over how to reduce the costs of government-paid prescription drugs. Currently, pharmaceuticals make up an estimated 10 percent of each region’s budget.

Socialist leader Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, who was in Paris Thursday, said that he had no doubt that the PP is secretly preparing to introduce prescription co-payments in all regions.

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