Exemptions from prescription charges are based on a condition or illness, rather than the drug involved, Health Minister David Ashford has stated.

He made the clarification in response to a House of Keys question about whether a drug that is used to prevent organ rejection after a kidney transplant, as well as treating a number of conditions, was on the ’exemption list’.

The written question was lodged by Rob Callister (Onchan) about Azathioprine, which is sold under the brand name of Imuran and is also used to treat severe rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease.

Mr Ashford said: ’The current “exemption list” is based on physical conditions which exempt a patient from paying prescription charges, for example diabetes.

’The exemption list is not a list of drugs which are classified as exempt from requiring a fee to be paid.’

There were no plans to change that system, which is the same as is used in the UK, he said.

The minister added: ’If a patient is finding it difficult to pay for prescription charges then a pre-payment certificate can be purchased for £19, which covers all prescriptions for a four-month period, or £54, which would cover all prescriptions for a year.’

Source: IoMToday