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May 15, 2021



Czech Republic: More anti-minority rumors spreading through e-mail

Prague, 25.10.2011 14:09, (ROMEA)

Yet another alarmist, anti-minority rumor is spreading through the Czech Republic by e-mail. The Czech Labor and Social Affairs Ministry has already disclaimed it.

Alarming rumors are being spread by e-mail and through the internet more and more frequently. The most recent one charges that "minorities" do not have to pay for prescriptions at pharmacies. The news has sparked an astonished reaction, reflected in the many questions being asked on a wide variety of internet discussion fora as to whether this is actually the case.

In an e-mail entitled "Shock at the pharmacy - INFORM EVERYONE!", an anonymous author claims: "I went to the pharmacy to buy my children cough drops and nose drops. The minorities were in front of me, they chose their medicines and then pulled out a piece of paper from the welfare department, ... the pharmacist confirmed it for them and they left. I asked what that was about and she told me they are socially deprived so the state pays for their medicines. I was pretty upset, I paid my CZK 500 and went home angry. I work, I pay into social insurance, health insurance, and my taxes, and it's all for them and others like them. PLEASE SHARE THIS WITH OTHERS WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS!"

Several individuals are now exploiting the alarmist, anonymous communication of this deceptive, hysterical claim in order to manipulate others and win them over to their own activities, causes and opinions online. Meanwhile, an expert from the Czech Labor and Social Affairs Ministry has issued the following statement denying that the "practice" described exists: "People who have been recognized as living in material distress, and who collect the benefits available (a subsistence contribution, a housing contribution, or extraordinary immediate aid) are, under the law on public health insurance, relieved of their obligation to pay regulatory fees. However, that same law does not relieve them of their obligation to pay for medicines! If such a person needs to access medicines that all patients normally pay for, or co-pay for, he or she will have to pay for them like anyone else! The Czech Health Ministry reports that doctors do have the option of prescribing medicine for any illness and not charging for the cost of issuing the prescription. In cases where a medicine cannot be prescribed for health reasons, the insurer may, in exceptional cases, pay for health care it would not otherwise reimburse should that option be the only possible one appropriate for the insured person given the state of their health. The provision of such health care is in most cases dependent on the previous agreement of the doctor checking up on the patient. The text of this chain e-mail twists all of these facts into the message 'I paid 500 and he paid nothing'. That is not how it works! Even a welfare recipient would have to pay that CZK 500, minus the cost of the fee for writing a prescription."

It is not clear which "minority" was involved in this case of an anonymous e-mailer's experience of great injustice at the pharmacy. It is clear that whoever authored the e-mail doesn't really understand how the Czech health and welfare systems work.

Gwendolyn Albert, ROMEA, ROMEA, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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