'Patch us back up': chronic pain sufferers plea to Health Minister

Story by Noelle Finegan

Friday, 9th February, 2018 12:21pm

'Patch us back up': chronic pain sufferers plea to Health Minister

Anna Rice has been using Versatis patches for pain relief for seven years.

A local chronic pain sufferer has set up a campaign appealing to Health Minister Simon Harris to have pain relief Versatis patches reinstated on the drug payment and medical card schemes.

Anna Rice from Trim suffers from Context Regional Pain Syndrome, a neurological condition and has set up the 'Patch Us Back Up' group on facebook along with four friends who have chronic pain conditions. "I have pain from the top of my head to my finger tips and down to my ribs on my right hand side. I've been using Versatis patches for seven years. They help a lot with the pain," said Anna who also takes a lot of other medication for her condition.

In December, Anna found out she would no longer be able to get the  drug on the Drug Payment Scheme and has been quoted €180 per box of 30 patches from her pharmacist, which she says she cannot afford. She uses up to three boxes a month to control her pain.

She has questioned the statements from Health Minister Simon Harris that the patches are not proven to help anyone other than those with post shingles pain and said 25,000 chronic pain sufferers in Ireland use them.
"I would like to know how they came up with the statistics saying it doesn't  help with any other conditions other than shingles. So many other people were on the Joe Duffy show with chronic pain conditions and it helps them."
"On Wednesday myself and four friends decided we have  had enough. We all have different forms of chronic pain and we set up a campaign 'Patch us back up' on facebook.

"We hope they might realise that people aren't willing to sit back in silence. I don't think they expected so much uproar. People are desperate," she said.

Have you been affected by the decision to withdraw Versatis from the Drugs Payment Scheme/Medical Card Scheme? Please contact news@meathchronicle.ie if you would like to share your experience.

See this week's Meath Chronicle for full story.