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Irish Health Service Cuts Support for Gluten-free Products
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.'
What do you think? Are gluten-free products medically questionable for people with celiac disease? Let us know your thoughts by commenting below.
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Jefferson Adams is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. His poems, essays and photographs have appeared in Antioch Review, Blue Mesa Review, CALIBAN, Hayden's Ferry Review, Huffington Post, the Mississippi Review, and Slate among others.
He is a member of both the National Writers Union, the International Federation of Journalists, and covers San Francisco Health News for Examiner.com.View all articles by Jefferson Adams
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