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Prescription charge abolished in Northern Ireland

Free prescriptions are launching in Northern Ireland today abolishing what has been called a tax on illness by Health Minister of the Northern Ireland Executive, Michael McGimpsey.Charging for prescriptions has already been abolished in Wales and is being phased out of the Scottish health system. England has abolished charges for cancer patients.The move is supported by many in the pharmacy profession. "We welcome free prescriptions and have long supported the idea as it is an opportunity for patients not to have to make choices on their medication based on cost," a spokesman from The Pharmaceutical Society for Northern Ireland said.The change comes as a report in Wales has shown the benefits of free prescriptions in the country.

Along with significantly improving the quality of patients lives, the policy is not significantly increasing costs.

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