17 Mar, 2011 @ 07:00
1 min read

Pill bargaining

SPAIN is to be taken to court over its refusal to give expat pensioners free medicine.

The European Commission is bringing the case to the European Court of Justice insisting that the country is discriminating against pensioners from northern Europe.

Under EU law, pensioners residing here should be allowed to use their European Health Insurance Card to receive healthcare under the same conditions as Spaniards.

The Spanish health ministry however, insist they have the right to deny free medication because the card does not indicate whether or not they are pensioners.

It says it is not discriminatory and that it has complained for years that the card fails to specifically identify pensioners.

To get free medication, foreign pensioners currently have to show an additional social security document certifying – in Spanish – that they receive a pension.

Brussels argues that demanding this additional document is contrary to the purpose of the European Health Insurance Card, which aims at simplifying procedures.

British pensioners currently have to request a free certificate from the British Consulate confirming their status when seeking prescriptions.


  1. Trust the Spanish to overcomplicate the process. They have taken billions in EU grants over decades, but they only adhere to EU law when it suits them.

    A persons date of birth should be on their passport anyway, so they can show that with their EHIC card (Spain has an obsession with showing passports, after all). This goes to prove that the so-called problem with the EHIC is non existent and Spain are just being beligerent.

  2. If these people are resident why don’t they just get registered under the Spanish system, get their Spanish Health Cards which specify they are pensioners and then they will get free health care and medicines as my wife and I have had for the 4 years we have been here. Don’t blame it all on the Spanish and don’t take the attitude I’m British mate and have been supporting you johnny foreigners you owe me. Remember we choose to live here, personally I have a better standard of living and quality of life here than I could ever enjoy in the UK as a pensioner. Yes the paperwork in Spain is a pain but once it’s done you can get on with enjoying your life.

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