Election 2015 Wales

Election: Plaid Cymru call for national drugs fund

Pills
Image caption Plaid Cymru claims access to new drugs and treatment depends on where you live

A £50m rebate already paid by drugs companies should be spent on a national drugs and treatment fund for Wales, Plaid Cymru has said.

It said a new national panel to rule on patients' cases would end a "postcode lottery".

The party wants people to have access to drugs and treatment not normally available on the Welsh NHS.

Health spokesperson Elin Jones said the Welsh government should ring-fence the rebate for this purpose.

She also told BBC Radio Wales that doctors' decisions would be reviewed by at least two others before going to a national panel.

Currently, what treatment a patient has often depends on where they live, Ms Jones said.

Image caption Elin Jones says Plaid Cymru MPs will seek an increase in the drugs rebate

Ms Jones said the party wanted to "get rid of that postcode lottery".

She said a protected budget, funded by Wales' annual Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme rebate payments, would pay for the scheme.

Deputy leader of Wales Green Party Anthony Slaughter said: "The establishment of a national panel to look at individual cases would entail yet more bureaucracy at enormous expense and it is difficult to see how the merits of different cases could be judged comparatively and how this would end the postcode lottery.

"There is a danger that these proposals could cause real harm by diverting valuable resources away from effective care and treatment."

A spokesman for UKIP said: "£50m is a sticking plaster at best. Each year we spend billions treating non-British nationals who have never paid into the system.

"It's about time Plaid recognised this and started putting the Welsh people first. If we run a national health service and not an international health service we wouldn't need anti-business measures such as this."

The other parties have been contacted for comment.

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