Mr Russell said:
“In these tough economic times, hundreds of thousands of people are already better off thanks to the Scottish Government’s action and they will continue to be better off as we move to full abolition of all prescription charges next year.
“Healthcare should be free at the point of access for everyone – this is the founding principle of the NHS, so removing the prescription charge will ensure that cost is not a barrier to those needing to take the medication prescribed to them.
“A year-on-year increase in Prescription Pre-payment Certificate sales proves that this policy is helping even more patients, particularly those with long-term conditions and others who require the greatest number of prescription items.
“We have seen in previous years that the spend on prescription charges across Dumfries & Galloway before they were cut was around £1.5 million a year. That is significant sum of money to be putting back in people’s pockets, and can only benefit the regional economy too.”