In an attempt to curb the spread of the flu and other diseases, Ireland’s health minister has said a pill that could treat the pandemic could be prescribed for everyone in the country by December.
The plan comes as part of a government effort to cut the number of new infections from 6,000 to about 3,000 by the end of the year, with the aim of preventing a “recovery” of cases.
Ireland’s Minister for Health Simon Harris has said the pill would be available in pharmacies within three weeks and would cost around €20,000.
Mr Harris said the move was part of an effort to control the spread, which has reached epidemic proportions across the country.
The Minister said people should not panic, saying they would be able to obtain the medicine from a pharmacy within a few weeks, with pharmacies able to accept the pill at any time.
“There will be no panic.
It’s part of the plan, part of our plan,” he said.”
We are doing the right thing by the people, and we are doing it in a way that we can keep the people safe.”
The government plans to use the pill to treat people with chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease.
It will also be available to those who need a prescription for another medication.
A spokeswoman for the Health Service Executive said the plan would not affect patients who are not taking any other medication.
“This is a pilot study and will be rolled out across the whole of the country in the coming months,” she said.
Dr Paul Connolly, chief medical officer of the Irish Medical Association, said there was no immediate risk to public health, but warned people with underlying health problems should seek medical advice.
“People who are prescribed the medication should take it and monitor their blood pressure and pulse every four hours,” he told RTÉ’s News at One.
“If you get a flare up, the pill should be taken immediately.
You should not be taking it as a precaution.”