Eczema skin creams 'should be free'

Eczema skin creams 'should be free'

The Irish Skin Foundation wants moisturisers for treating conditions including eczema to be available for free on the medical card, and to have a lower VAT rate applied.

Ezcema affects one in 10 children and one in 20 adults in Ireland.

The foundation said many sufferers could not afford to use enough cream, which was making the problem worse.

At the moment patients do not pay for moisturisers which contain steroids. However, the Skin Foundation (ISF) has warned patients were at risk of overusing the steroid creams because they could not afford an alternative.

Spokesman David McMahon said the bill for eczema treatments could run to hundreds of euro. The VAT rate on such products is currently 23%

He said: "A dermatology study from the US earlier this year found an adult with eczema has extra out-of-pocket costs of €300 to €500 each year because of their condition.

"The Irish Skin Foundation is asking the Government to lower the VAT rate for medical moisturisers and sun-protection creams, bandages and dressings."

"Medical cards don’t cover the full spectrum of treatments for eczema. While aqueous cream (a soap substitute), emulsifying ointment and Silcock’s base (moisturisers), steroid creams and ointments are covered on the medical card, no other products are covered by either a medical card or the drug payment scheme (DPS)," said David McMahon, ISF head of advocacy.

The ISF wants the HSE to revise and expand the list of products used to treat eczema that are available with a medical card or compensated by the Drug Payment Scheme and to see a reduction of VAT rate for ointments, dressings, emollients and sun creams.


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