Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Public Expenditure and Reform Dara Calleary TD has called on the HSE to provide a full account of its investigation into incorrectly claimed pharmacy fees.

Deputy Calleary made the comments after his party moved a special Dáil Private Members Business debate on the issue.

Deputy Calleary said, “Earlier this month it was revealed that a leading pharmacy chain made a settlement with the HSE to the tune of €12m. The settlement was made after the chain over-claimed for pharmacy related fees. The problem only came to light following the broadcast of an RTE Investigates programme.

“€12m could have a major impact on funding other areas of the health service where there is significant unmet demand. For example it could fund 600,000 home help hours and provide 500,000 additional Personal Assistant hours for people with disabilities. €12m could also provide 12,000 medical cards or an additional 1,500 home care packages.

“It is absolutely astounding that the HSE did not identify the over-payments through its own internal monitoring mechanisms. It raises serious questions as to how the HSE allocates public monies to private companies. The HSE needs to outline what action it is taking to identify how this over-payment was made, and what measures are being put in place to ensure such a mistake is not repeated.

“The waste of public money cannot be tolerated, and we need certainty from the HSE that similar over payments are not being made to other companies. The Dáil Private Members Business motion which we have tabled today will hold the HSE to account on this issue. It is incumbent on the HSE to ensure that it is carrying out proper checks and balances when allocating public money,” concluded Deputy Calleary.