Laxatives are the most sought after medicine in prison
A TREATMENT for chronic constipation was the most popular liquid medicine dispensed to toilet-shy prisoners at a number of the country's largest jails last year.
In figures suggesting in-mates' bowel movements are the only things moving slower than prisoners' time inside, the Irish Prison Service (IPS) has confirmed Lactulose was the most popular liquid medicine dispensed at Wheatfield and Portlaoise prisons last year.
Along with being the most popular liquid medicine dispensed in those two prisons, Lactulose was the second most popular dispensed liquid medicine at the Midlands and Cloverhill prisons.
The four prisons have a combined capacity of more than 2,100 prisoners - over 50pc of the entire capacity of the prison system.
The IPS confirmed that last year it spent over €1m on over 209,000 pharmaceutical medicines dispensed to prisoners in Cloverhill, Wheatfield, Portlaoise and the Midlands prison.
The largest spend was at the Midlands prison, amounting to €365,000, with €113,000 spent on medicines at Portlaoise.
A total of €334,000 was spent on medication at Wheatfield, with €189,000 on medicines at Cloverhill, both in Dublin.
Dublin pharmacy firm Ballyfermot Pharmacy Ltd has beaten off competition to win the €1m-plus per year business to supply the medicines to the prisons over the next four years.
The latest figures available through information from IPS purchase orders show that Ballyfermot Pharmacy Ltd received payments totalling over €1.5m in 2012.
The most recent accounts for Ballyfermot Pharmacy Ltd show that it had accumulated profits of €1.47m last year with its cash pile topping €1m.
Other popular medications include painkillers and those used in the treatment of addiction to smoking, insomnia, anxiety, heartburn, depression and those prisoners suffering from schizophrenia.
According to the Prison Service: "The IPS aims to deliver a quality of healthcare reflective of that available to those holding medical cards in the wider community."