Updated 16 January: Canarian president Ángel Victor Torres has announced that the new decree has been approved today and will become valid immediately, indeed it will be retroactive to 1 January. It will be published in the BOC tomorrow.  

Updated 10 January: The Canarian Government has announced that it is to provide an alternative solution to the subsidy previously given on prescription costs by the former Government to those with an annual pension of less than €18,000. The Government stressed that with jurisdiction over health, regional authorities were empowered to pass such measures and so the 10% co-payment will be eliminated by a decree which the government intends to approve next week.

Essentially, instead of Sanidad subsidising the 10% cost for those pensioners on low incomes, now social budgeting will provide a complement to the pension to cover it. To the pensioner concerned, of course, the funding niceties will actually make no difference because the end result is that their prescriptions will once again be free as soon as the new decree comes into force, which should be the day after its publication in the BOC. 

Please note that not all medications are covered in this respect. Some treatments, as in the UK, are considered medically inessential or not capable of subsidy for various reasons. NICE in the UK’s NHS does the same thing when it evaluates which medications and treatments should be generally available. Some pensioners will therefore find that they still have to pay for certain medications.

 Updated 3 January 2020: The decree that provided pensioners with free prescriptions expired on 31 December last year and so the discount is no longer available. Such financial measures are budgeted annually and this is one that hasn’t made it through into the new budget because, I understand, the measure was originally the result of concerns that pensioners might be restricting ongoing medication because of cost. The measure was brought in, at least in part, as an academic exercise to see if it made any difference when medication was free. The then Coalición Canaria Government had no long-term plans for the measure which turned out, anyway, to have made no difference anyway to how people took their medication, and so it has not been continued in 2020. Pensioners with income of under €18,000 will now again pay 10% of the cost of their medication but only up to a maximum of €8.23 per month.

Original post 16 May 2019: Whether or not the forthcoming elections are responsible, this is now law, and from tomorrow a decree comes into force allowing pensioners and their dependents free prescriptions. Currently a charge of 10% is made for the medications covered but that will change from the day following its publication in the BOC. The only criterion applicable will be that the pensioner has an income of less than €18,000 a year, which statistics say is 70% of pensioner. The new measure is expected to benefit nearly 300,000 pensioners in the islands who will find their medication is provided free without any adminstrative requirement. The decree is HERE.