16.6 million packages of drugs dispensed to seniors in first six months of 75+ scheme

New groups of drugs for hypertension and ischaemic heart disease will be included on the list of free medications for persons aged over 75 years effective from 1 May, the Ministry of Health said.

2017 is the first full year of the programme. The Ministry of Health plans to spend PLN 564m (€133m) on it in 2017.

Between 1 September 2016 and 28 February 2017, 16.6 million packages were dispensed for free to a total of 1.85 million seniors on the basis of 7.19 million prescriptions, saving them a total of nearly PLN 168m (€39m).

Only GPs and GP practice nurses are authorised to issue prescriptions for free medications under the programme – this is so to reduce the risk of unnecessary use of multiple drugs by a patient. The regulations might be relaxed in the future, but only after an IT system is implemented that stores in one place all information about a patient, enabling doctors to check their drug history. Work on such a system is underway, the ministry said.