From Friday March 1st it will be mandatory to show your card together with your prescription, if you don’t want to pay full price for your medication that is.
The new card comes with a magnetic strip that pharmacists will swipe to determine how much you have to pay.
It also has all your personal details: full name, social security and ID number.
Standard Community of Madrid health card. Photo: Official Pharmacist Association of Madrid (COFM)
Even if you already have a Madrid health card, head down to your local health clinic and check that everything's in order.
Make sure you have all the necessary documents at hand: NIE, passport or national ID, social security affiliation document (with your number on it), proof of residence and work contract.
Things could be a little chaotic at the start of the new regime though: pharmacists foresee problems with the magnetic strips being damaged and a period of adaptation to the new online system.
“The system should have been in place on January 1st, and aside from the delays we’re not even sure if it’s going to work well or not as we haven’t really had the chance to try it out enough before the new law came along,” said a local pharmacist.
Madrid’s Pharmacists’ Association (COFM) has been busy trying to introduce a new online system called SISCATA since the provincial government passed legislation last year requiring prescription prices to be determined by income.