Arthritis patients in Iceland recently received a letter from the Ministry of Health informing them that as of March 1, they have to cover treatment at the National Hospital’s Arthritis Division themselves, up to ISK 40,000 (USD 596, EUR 402) per patient per year.
“This is anything but a positive development,” chairman of Iceland’s Arthritis Association Emil Thoroddsen told Morgunbladid. The matter is currently being reviewed by the association.
Thoroddsen said that some arthritis patients might consider discontinuing their treatments or take different medicine considering the additional expenses. Those who receive disability benefits because of their condition will be given a discount, but according to Thoroddsen, most arthritis patients are fully employed.
The added charge for treatment of arthritis patients is part of new regulations accepted by the Ministry of Health in December 2007. The National Hospital expects around 1,600 visits from arthritis patients this year, which delivers profits between ISK 4 to 6 million (USD 60,000 to 70,000, EUR 40,000 to 60,000).