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Madrid follows Catalonia with prescription surcharge

Source: El Pais - Wed 31st Oct 2012
Madrid follows Catalonia with prescription surcharge

Earlier today Madrid followed the region of Catalonia in imposing a €1 surcharge on state health authority-issued prescriptions as part of an austerity budget for 2013, where the healthcare budget has been slashed by 7% in a bid to save €2.7 billion euros.

"We will apply a charge of €1 for issuing prescriptions," regional premier Ignacio González announced at a presentation of the budget in which spending at been capped at €17.048 billion. "This is a measure of a dissuasive nature to encourage the efficient use of medicines."

González went on to say how families had an estimated €1200 million of unused medicines in their cabinets at home.

The budget also calls for the privatization of the management of 6 of the regions new hospitals.

"These are difficult times," González said. "We are in a scenario of falling revenues and the need to comply with the established deficit figure." The central government has imposed a shortfall cap on Spanish regions' finances for next year of 0.7% of GDP, down from 1.5% this year.

The region's 6 universities will see their funding cut by 16% to €840 million euros. Cuts in grants for school meals and books worth €28 million will remain in place, while spending on public transport will be cut by 21%.

The savings of over €2.7 billion will be made up by additional revenues of €1.335 billion and spending cuts of €1.424 billion.

Madrid is in a minority of regions which has not requested to tap the central government's new Regional Liquidity Fund to deal with impending payments.

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