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Prescription costs scrapped in Northern Ireland

1 April 10 05:39 GMT

People in Northern Ireland no longer have to pay for their medical prescriptions.

The move, which was announced in September 2008, comes into effect from 1 April.

Health Minister Michael McGimpsey said it marked "the end of a tax on illness".

"I believe that charging people for vital medication is totally against the principles of a health service that is free at the point of use," he said.

"The cost of abolishing prescription charges will be accommodated from within my existing budget. No existing services will be affected by this decision."

Charging for prescriptions has already been abolished in Wales and is being phased out of the Scottish health system.

England has abolished charges for cancer patients.

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