Free Prescriptions For the Chronically Ill?

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The Prescription Charges Coalition campaign in England is arguing that prescriptions should be free to those with long-term medical conditions. Organizations such as Parkinson’s UK, National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society, and Asthma UK assert that the list of illnesses deserving prescription-charge exemptions is no longer accurate.

In light of the recent debate, we asked SERMO physicians if they think the long-term ill have free prescriptions.

Over 1300 doctors from 20+ countries weighed-in on the debate, taking into account their own countries’ systems and regulations.

 

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Globally, 65 percent of physicians believe long-term ill patients should receive free prescriptions for as long as they are ill:

“For every patient with a chronic disease [prescriptions] should be free, especially if you do not have the economic conditions to buy it.” – Pediatrics, Venezuela

“Patients with chronic diseases should receive free treatment. Their situation of chronic illness already causes labor limitations, and therefore a low income.” – Hospice and Palitative Medicine, Spain

“If the pathology is chronic, the treatment coverage should be indefinite.” – General Practice, Spain

 Interestingly, the runner second highest response (13 percent of doctors) was the polar opposite sentiment of, “prescriptions should not be free”:

“The question is: Free by who? There is no free lunch. Nothing is free. Someone pays, and that someone is the taxpayer with taxes. The government does not generate “money, it collects from the taxpayer, ie we pay for others. If it is the pharmaceutical industry that is the supplier of” gratuity,” the costs will be redistributed to the consumer who pays for the product. I am in favor of a discount, but it should be paid in some way.” – Otolaryngology, Brazil

The poll was fielded in July of 2017. 1380 physicians responded to the poll. The margin of error for the global poll was ±3%. More information about SERMO polling methodology can be found here.

Are you a physician? Log into SERMO to weigh-in on ethical questions with other doctors from around the world.

 

 

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