28-7-2009 | Brainwave voices concern at impact pharmacists’ dispute will have on people with epilepsy.

28 July 2009
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Brainwave has today voiced concerns over the proposed withdrawal on August 1st of almost 1,000 pharmacists from dispensing under the Community Drug Schemes.

The Medical Card Scheme and The Long Term Illness Scheme are commonly used by people with epilepsy and will both be affected.

Brainwave has called on both the pharmacists and the HSE to sit down at the earliest opportunity and act in the best interests of people with epilepsy by reaching an agreement.

"The threatened withdrawal in just three days time will present a huge problem for many of the 37,000 people with epilepsy in Ireland", said Mike Glynn, Brainwave's CEO. "It is absolutely vital that people taking medication to treat epilepsy have uninterrupted access to that medication in order to remain free of seizures".

Research shows that not taking prescribed epilepsy medication in the manner prescribed increases the risk of seizures. Brainwave is particularly concerned about people with difficult to control seizures who cannot drive and those who live in rural areas. In both cases, access to hospital pharmacists or to pharmacists not withdrawing from the scheme will be limited.

"We are concerned at the viability of the HSE's proposed contingency plans from August 1st in ensuring that all those in need of prescribed medication will have easy access to it", said Mike Glynn.

"It is imperative that the HSE urgently devises adequate contingency plans and then acts to communicate with and reassure the public. If contingency plans are not capable of meeting the needs of the public, we would call upon the pharmacists to temporarily suspend their withdrawal from the schemes to ensure that people's health and lives are not put at risk".

Brainwave is advising that people with epilepsy talk to their pharmacist and if they are withdrawing, to find out from the HSE's published lists where the nearest prescribing pharmacy will be. It is also advisable for people to ensure now that their prescriptions are fulfilled for the maximum period possible beyond August 1st.

View the HSE's list of currently participating pharmacies here:


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