Irish Patients Wait Three Times As Long For Same Medicines Available In Other European Countries

Posted on November, 21 - 2019

Patients in Ireland are waiting three times as long to get the same medicines as patients in other comparable European countries, an analysis by the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (IPHA) has found. 

IPHA, which represents the originator biopharmaceutical industry in Ireland, released new figures at its ‘Innovate For Life’ conference held today [Thursday] in Croke Park, Dublin.

Prices for innovative medicines in Ireland are calculated at the average of the price in 14 EU countries. IPHA analysed the reimbursement dates in these countries for 15 medicines which have completed their pharmacoeconomic assessment in Ireland but have yet to be reimbursed by the HSE.

The analysis found that, on average, each of these medicines has so far been reimbursed in 10 out of the 14 reference countries.

Patients in these countries were able to access these life-changing medicines within an average of 289 days from the date of EMA licensing.

But, in Ireland, patients in Ireland have so far been waiting an average of 843 days to get access to the same medicines. That’s almost three times as long - a difference of 18 months on average*.

Five of the 15 medicines are either fully or partially made in Ireland. Nine of the medicines are for cancer, two are for multiple sclerosis, two are for cardiovascular disease and two are for gastrointestinal diseases.

Ahead of a new Agreement on the pricing and supply of medicines, IPHA called for an explicit ‘Medicines Policy’ aimed at helping to fix the access problem and future-fit the biopharmaceutical industry.

Aidan Lynch, IPHA’s President, said the Agreement, replacing the existing one whose four-year term expires in July, must be a ‘win-win-win’ for patients, industry and the State.  

“When it comes to introducing new medicines into the health services, Ireland is ‘slow and late’. The new Agreement between industry and the State is an opportunity for the industry and the State to partner on a solution. We must accelerate access to new medicines for patients and secure pricing and funding certainty so medicines are both affordable and available. We must integrate the adoption of new medicines with a longer-term vision for the future of the industry,” said Mr Lynch. 

Oliver O’Connor, IPHA’s Chief Executive, said: “We want to apply the same lessons of strong industry-State partnership on Brexit planning to the search for joint solutions to medicines access and funding challenges.”


About The Conference

‘Innovate For Life’ is IPHA’s 26th IPHA annual conference and dinner, gathering some 350 industry, policy, research and patient leaders to share their insights on improving standards of care through medicines innovation. There are 24 contributors across keynotes, panels and a learning lab. Almost half the contributors are women. In the evening, we will debut ‘Innovate for Life’, a mini-documentary telling an impact and value story for the biopharmaceutical industry in Ireland. 


Please see for the full agenda.


*Figures as at 13th November, 2019