Highly vulnerable women are attending emergency departments to beg for Cariban prescriptions from consultants

Social Democrats TD Jennifer Whitmore has called on the Government to make Cariban – a medication used for treating hyperemesis during pregnancy – more accessible.

“Cariban is used to help reduce symptoms of hyperemesis in pregnancy, which include severe vomiting, fatigue and headaches. However, due to the high cost of the drug, it is not accessible or affordable for some sufferers.

“Until this year, Cariban was not included in the Drugs Payment Scheme, making it prohibitively expensive for many pregnant women. Under the new reimbursement scheme introduced by the Government last month, patients must get their initial prescription for Cariban from a consultant obstetrician, and not their GP, in order to qualify.

“I raised this issue in the Dáil last night and am deeply unsatisfied with the Government’s response.

“Minister Donnelly has taken a hands-off approach by saying it is up to the clinicians and the people suffering from this condition to lobby the drug manufacturers. That is not good enough.

“The Minister should be looking for solutions to help women and allow them to access the drug for free. There should be no distinction between people who can afford to go privately and those who are forced to wait on public waiting lists.

“People are facing 12-week waits for consultant appointments to get this prescription. Meanwhile, they are experiencing severe vomiting, sometimes 24 hours a day.

“The era of expecting women to simply grin and bear it is over. The Minister and the HSE need to make sure this essential drug is made easily available now.

“Some women are so desperate that they are presenting to A&E. How can the Minister stand over this? A woman who is vomiting so much that she cannot lift her head off a chair should not have to sit in an accident and emergency department.

“We are sending these highly vulnerable women through emergency departments to beg for prescriptions from consultants. It does not make any sense that GPs – who are familiar with their patients’ medical history – cannot help them.

“As this is an issue that is affecting women all around the country, I will be keeping the pressure up until it is resolved.”

February 1, 2023

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