Generic drug prices to drop by up to 40pc
The prices of all generic drugs are due to be reduced by up to 40pc next month -- but neither the Department of Health nor the HSE can say how much customers will be paying for individual medicines.
An agreement has been reached between the Department of Health and the Association of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers of Ireland (APMI), which represents manufacturers of generic and over-the-counter drugs.
It will be in place until a new system of reference pricing is introduced next year, Health Minister Mary Harney said.
However, the department said the price of medicines was not part of its remit and down to the HSE.
But the HSE said that despite the announcement by the department, it has yet to draw up a price list.
APMI chairperson Sandra Gannon said: "Our members are pleased to have agreed a deal that will benefit Irish patients through more affordable medicines. Patients can now be sure that generic alternatives will always be less expensive than their branded equivalents."
She added that generic medicines are high quality, safe and effective alternatives. They contain the same active medicinal substance as the branded product, and because it acts in the same way in the body, it is interchangeable with the originator's product.
There are more than 1,600 different reimbursable drugs in Ireland, but in 2008 only 18pc of prescription items were dispensed generically.