Irish Health Service Cuts Support for Gluten-free Products
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Celiac.com 10/19/2012 - Irish citizens with celiac disease will no longer be reimbursed for the gluten-free products they buy, under to a newly announced cutback to their health benefits.
The Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) says that new cuts to health benefits by the Irish health service (HSE) mean that many gluten-free products will no longer be reimbursed by the government, including products purchased by patients with medical cards, and those receiving long-term illness benefits.
Gluten-free products that will no longer be covered include baking powder, breads, cornflakes, flour, muesli, pasta, pizza and porridge.
People with celiac disease must eat gluten-free foods to avoid suffering from significant health problems. The IPU says this means that celiac patients, who rely on gluten-free products to maintain their health, will no longer receive financial support to help them cover the cost of these products.
The HSE announced the controversial €130 million in cuts last spring, but made no mention that gluten-free products would be removed from the list of free items.
The HSE announcement said only that 'certain products including' glucosamine, the obesity drug Orlistat, and Omega-3 Triglycerides to protect against heart disease, would be removed from the list of reimbursable products.
In confirming the elimination of reimbursements for gluten-free products, an HSE spokesperson said that the agency was choosing to cut products for which there was 'doubt about their clinical efficacy.'
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