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Court orders end of €1 prescription charge

Source: El Pais - Tue 15th Jan 2013
Court orders end of €1 prescription charge

The Constitutional Court has decided to suspend the Catalan regional government's fee of €1 for every prescription issued by the state health system, EFE cited court sources as saying earlier today.

The ruling came in response to a suit filed by the PP Central Government, where it also plans to challenge the introduction of an identical surcharge on top of existing prescription fees by the PP-run region of Madrid at the start of this year.

The measure had been effect in Catalonia for just over 6 months.

The central government argued that the charge violates the constitutional right of citizens to equal treatment and that the regions do not have the right to any input in setting prices within the public health system, even though the central administration has delegated responsibility for healthcare to them.

The suspension was ordered as a cautionary measure while the Constitutional Court rules on the legal arguments presented by the government.

Catalonia introduced the charge as part of its austerity drive to meet a deficit-reduction target imposed by the central government. The region garnered €45.7 million from the measures between June 23 when it was introduced and the end of last year.