Lessons must be learned from dysfunctional process
Call for medicines to be available as fast as in Europe
The Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association welcomes the statement by the HSE confirming that it will fund nine delayed medicines for prescribing to patients.
Chief Executive, Oliver O’Connor said:
“It is most important that doctors will, without delay, be able to prescribe these new medicines to patients. Patients have been waiting too long for these medicines which have been routinely available in most other European countries.
“Lessons have to be learned from this dysfunctional process. The assessment and approvals process must be speeded up. It must be orderly and predictable, with clear communications. And there has to be confirmation that the HSE will no longer be required, by whatever process, to send medicines up to the Minister or Government for political decision.
“It cannot be that decisions on new medicines should involve political pressure, upset patients in street demonstrations, frustrated doctors and media storms. Yet we’ve seen all this in the last year, even as IPHA member companies provided major savings of €140m in clear expectation of an orderly, predictable system of new medicines reimbursement.
“Ultimately, to improve the process needs clear political direction from the Minister. We are calling for clear direction to be given that the process is actually to ensure that patients get access to new medicines as fast as elsewhere in Europe – not just an aspiration, but hard, clear policy with performance measures.
“New medicines will certainly need to be funded. The State cannot deliver benefits to patients at no additional cost. IPHA companies are providing savings of €785m over four years to create budget headroom for new medicines – but the Government has to play its part too by allowing the HSE have growth in medicines expenditure from now on, unlike this year. Pharmaceutical companies that are not IPHA members should also be made give up substantial savings and price cuts as fast, and as much as, our members.
“For the record, and contrary to some misleading impressions given, the facts are:
“Other European countries assess the cost effective of medicines carefully, they have pricing like ours and control their medicines budget growth: yet they can achieve faster access for patients to new medicines. It is time Ireland does so too.”