Although the rules for filling prescriptions for free medicines for children and seniors were supposed to be simple, it turns out that in practice they are not. Patients complain about another obstacle to receiving reimbursement.
From September 1, 2023, children under 18 years of age and seniors over 65 years of age have the right to receive free medicines. However, since the new regulations came into force, patients have had to deal with considerable confusion, which has resulted in difficulties in filling prescriptions.
Prescriptions for free medicines for children and seniors only from a doctor on the National Health Fund?
It turns out that prescriptions for free medicines for children or seniors can only be issued by a doctor who has an agreement with the National Health Fund. In practice, this means that patients cannot obtain reimbursement during a private visit to a doctor. The Human Rights Ombudsman informed that he receives information about such situations. He asked the Ministry of Health to clarify whether there was any unjustified differentiation between doctors and patients. “According to the information provided to the Ombudsman, private doctors are no longer authorized to issue prescriptions with 100% reimbursement for children and seniors,” said Piotr Mierzejewski, Director of the Administrative and Economic Law Team of the Office of the Ombudsman, in the letter.
The complaint in this matter was forwarded to Łukasz Szmulski, Director of the Department of Drug Policy and Pharmacy at the Ministry of Health. The document also highlights the fact that until now, obtaining a prescription for reimbursed medicines for seniors was possible both during a visit to a doctor cooperating with the National Health Fund and a private doctor. “In connection with the introduced change, there are voices that there is an unjustified differentiation between doctors and patients,” added Piotr Mierzejewski.
What about prescriptions for free medicines issued before September 1?
It is worth recalling that this is yet another inaccuracy in the regulations regarding free medicines for children under 18 years of age and seniors over 65 years of age. Patients also had problems filling prescriptions issued before September 1, 2023. Only prescriptions for medicines for children and seniors were accepted, which were written by a doctor only after the new regulations entered into force, i.e. after September 1.
A few days ago, however, the National Health Fund commented on this matter, issuing a special announcement in which it announced that patients will be able to benefit from their refund, even if the prescriptions were issued before the beginning of September. In the case of such a prescription which has not yet been filled in full and the patient has gained the right to free medicines in the meantime – he or she may contact the doctor for a new prescription which will include the “S” or “DZ” symbol, entitling him or her to a full refund. . It is worth knowing what other criteria must be met by a prescription for free medicines for children and seniors.