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Bill aims to boost Rent-a-Room scheme
Pic: RollingNews.ie

23 Jan 2024 / legislation Print

Bill aims to boost Rent-a-Room scheme

The Government has approved plans to publish the final text of a bill that would disregard income of up to €14,000 from the Rent-a-Room scheme from assessments for medical cards.

The Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly (pictured) said that the proposed change would remove potential barriers to participation in the Rent-a-Room scheme.

The Department of Health added that the Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2024 would also lay the ground for an enhanced role for pharmacists in Ireland.

Minister Donnelly said that the proposed legislation, to be published “shortly”, would also pave the way for some “much-needed changes” to the oversight of medicines supplies and access to medicines.

Enhanced role for pharmacists

The measures on pharmacists and medicines will require secondary legislation, which the minister said was being developed by the department.

The bill intends to amend the Irish Medicines Board Act 1995 to enable pharmacists to sell and supply certain approved medicines without the need for a prescription, subject to appropriate regulation and controls to be set out in secondary legislation.

This change may also enable regulations to allow pharmacists to supply oral contraceptive pills without prescription, and to support the Free Contraception Scheme, subject to further clarification and consultation.


When enacted, the bill will also amend current legislation to enhance the minister’s power to make regulations for management of, and access to, medicinal products.

This will include provision for the enhanced management of shortages of medicinal products.

The department says that the legislation will strengthen joint actions by the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA), the Health Service Executive (HSE), the PSI (the pharmacy regulator), and the Department of Health, and will enable pharmacists to make therapeutic substitutions of products that are in shortage, in line with an approved clinical protocol.

Minister Donnelly added: “Shortages of medicinal products has unfortunately become a reality across many countries in recent years. This bill will allow us to be more agile in our response to these occurrences.”

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