Severely ill pregnant women face mounting bills

Routine treatment very expensive
  • Deborah Condon

Routine treatments for severe pregnancy sickness should be included in the Drugs Payment and Medical Card Schemes, a charity has insisted.

It pointed out that some women are paying up to €2,000 during their pregnancy for these vital treatments.

Hyperemesis gravidarum is a complication of pregnancy in which women experience extreme levels of nausea and vomiting. While 70-80% of pregnant women experience some kind of sickness, usually referred to as morning sickness, this condition is far more serious and can even be life threatening.

Around one in 100 women with hyperemesis gravidarum will need to be admitted to hospital due to dehydration and malnutrition brought on by the condition. Many more women require time off work as a result.

Hyperemesis Ireland supports women affected by this condition. It is highlighting the financial hardship faced by many affected women and is calling for routine treatments to be included on the Drugs Payment and Medical Card Schemes.

"Women suffering from hyperemesis are already extremely sick. The last thing women and their families need is to face financial hardship on top of the physical and emotional suffering caused by months of relentless nausea and vomiting.

"That is why we are calling on the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, to include first line treatments for hyperemesis on the Drugs Payment Scheme and Medical Card," commented a spokesperson for the charity.

Under the Drugs Payment Scheme (DPS), an individual or family will pay no more than €114 each calendar month for approved prescribed drugs and medicines. However, routine treatments for this condition are not yet included on the approved list.

The charity noted that many of the women it supports are spending over €1,000 on prescriptions per pregnancy, and in some extreme cases, this figure rises to over €2,000 per pregnancy.

"My sector is currently closed down. I get €250 per week from the Pandemic Unemployment Payment. My monthly prescription of Cariban (a drug to treat nausea and vomiting) is €184. As I also have prescriptions for other medical conditions, I am spending over €300 a month just to function," explained one mother.

The charity is encouraging people to write to their local TD and the Minister for Health asking for these treatments to be included on the Drugs Payment and Medical Card schemes, and to engage on social media using the hashtag #HG2costly.

For more information on Hyperemesis Ireland, click here.


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