Fianna Fáil Cork South West TD Christopher O’Sullivan has urged Health Minister Stephen Donnelly to improve access to "vital" medication Cariban.
The drug is used to relieve the symptoms of hyperemesis gravidarum, a severe nausea and vomiting condition in pregnancy.
Deputy O’Sullivan met with Minister Donnelly on Wednesday night to seek action on removing the difficulties women are having accessing the drug through the community drug scheme.
“I’ve been contacted by hundreds of women in the past number of days who’ve described the horrific experiences they’ve had with hyperemesis. It affects their lives, their ability to work and their mental health,” Deputy O’Sullivan said.
“It’s vital we do everything we can to ensure women across Ireland get easy and affordable access to Cariban.”
“I’ll be working with Minister Donnelly over the coming weeks and months to improve access to Cariban. We need the correct outcome for women who have this debilitating condition and because hyperemesis often leads to hospitalisation this treatment could save the HSE millions on the long run.”
In order to avail of the drug through the community drug scheme, the drug has to be prescribed by a consultant obstetrician. GPs can prescribe the drug, but there is no mechanism for reimbursement through the community drug scheme.
“The stories I've heard this week are heart-breaking," he said. "No one shouldn't have to go through this, and no one should have to make choices between the weekly shop or paying for the treatment.”
“In Spain it’s available in some pharmacies for just €12. Here people are paying hundreds of euro for the treatment.
“I will keep you updated on our progress as we work to make this drug more easily accessible for pregnant women.”