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Minister Misleads Superannuitants

Media Release
25 August 2004

Minister Misleads Superannuitants

The Health Minister has unfortunately misled the elderly about the application of the $3 maximum prescription charge, said New Zealand First health spokesperson Barbara Stewart.

“In answer to a parliamentary question yesterday the Minister said that all New Zealanders aged 65 and over in primary health organisations benefit from the $3 prescription charge.

“However the $3 maximum charge applies only when the medicine prescribed is fully subsidised. Nor does the $3 maximum charge apply to prescriptions obtained from specialists or at hospitals,” said Mrs Stewart.

“These hidden exceptions have caused confusion and unwelcome surprises for the elderly who have taken prescriptions to be filled without realising that they will have to pay more, forcing pharmacists to try to explain government policy.

“For those on limited budgets the discovery that they have to pay more for medicine can cause great stress. The Minister must ensure that any confusion on this matter is cleared up immediately,” said Mrs Stewart.

ENDS

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