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Intervention needed from Health Minister in Versatis debacle

12 February 2018

Statement by Alan Kelly TD
Spokesperson on Health

Labour spokesperson on Health, Alan Kelly TD, has called on the Minister for Health to intervene in the controversy over patient access to Versatis pain patches.

Late last year the HSE added a second level of approval for GPs looking to continue prescribing the patches after a three month period, with just 10% of applications so far approved.

Deputy Kelly said:

“I understand that there may have been legitimate concerns that the Versatis patch was being inappropriately prescribed in some instances, however the answer is not to deny those patients, particularly older people, who have relied on and benefited from the use of the patches for years, from continuing to access them.

“Every patient is different and has a unique set of needs, and we have to listen to GPs who best understand these needs; the appropriate weight should be given to an appeal by a GP following the rejection of a patient’s application.

“Since the issue was raised on Liveline over the past week we have heard from dozens of people who rely on these patches as part of their pain management and have now had their applications rejected, and are really struggling without it.

“Last week the programme said it was still receiving around 100 calls and messages per day, and I have had a number of calls from people very concerned about the change in my own constituency.

“There is simply no valid reason why a 100-year-old man with chronic pain should not be allowed to continue using this medication.

“It is now time for Minister Harris to personally intervene to rectify this issue as it is clear this new system is not working for the majority of patients who need these patches.”