‘Like being hungover for eight months’: Government urged to pay for expensive pregnancy meds

Pregnant women with hyperemesis have called it “no hassle” for the government to make a free drug available to them for the disease.

Dubliner Linda Meehan-Ashton said hard shoulder that suffering from hyperemesis was like having a hangover for most of her pregnancy:

“The only thing I can compare it to, for people who haven’t been through this, is being hungover for eight and a half, nine months,” she said.

“The first time was a little easier to manage because I didn’t have a 15-month-old running around. Whereas now I have a 15 month old running around and my husband has to do most of the work for her, while trying to keep me alive too.

“So it’s very difficult for the whole family, not just the pregnant person.”

‘Like being hungover for eight months’: Government urged to pay for expensive pregnancy meds

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Another woman with the condition is Emma Hendrick from Sligo; she also suffered from the disease during both of her pregnancies and is currently paying a small fortune for a drug called Cariban which helps relieve her symptoms:

“It’s not just about morning sickness, because a lot of people pass it on to me. It’s a constant feeling of nausea and vomiting,” Emma said.

“There are times when you can’t hold anything back, whether it’s a cup of tea, water or crackers.

“So it’s really debilitating and it can lead to really bad dehydration and you can end up in hospital.

“It can also mean that because you feel nauseous and want to vomit all the time, there is nothing you can do.

“So you don’t want to get out of bed or you can’t get out of bed.”

She continued:

“At the moment, I take 112 tablets a month, four tablets a day and it costs 170 euros. [a month].

“Because the drug is unlicensed, you can’t claim anything back.”

‘No fuss’

In opposition, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly backed the inclusion of Cariban in the drug payment system, but he has since reneged on that commitment.

For Linda, the decision should be “no fuss”; she was hospitalized in her first pregnancy due to dehydration due to hyperemesis and says making Cariban more accessible would be an easy way to ease the pressure on health services:

“It would only benefit the government to put it on the drug payment system or on the medical card because it costs the government money to hospitalize people when they need fluids,” a- she declared.

“And for people who don’t know, there is a day room in some hospitals, where you can book to have fluids and you are there for half a day.

“So it’s half a day that a patient spends, using resources that don’t have to be used.

“If we had the drugs available much more easily and much cheaper, it would reduce the overall cost to the HSE and the government.

“It’s obvious because at the end of the day, people who can’t afford [the drug] end up going to the hospital, they can’t work – which means they don’t get any money… and you’re just in a vicious cycle.

Main image: A pregnant woman.

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