Sunday 22 October 2017

Patients in need of new drugs 'left waiting' despite Government pledge to fund them

There could be medicine shortages in Ireland under a hard Brexit. (Stock picture)
There could be medicine shortages in Ireland under a hard Brexit. (Stock picture)
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Ireland is at or near the bottom of a league table of 14 countries in Europe for access to new medicines, it was claimed today.

The HSE promised to fund nine new medicines several months ago but “patients are still waiting”, according to the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association.

The body which represents the main drugs companies said: "From a country where patients had good access to new medicines, Ireland is falling down the list compared to our counterparts in Europe."

The issue is outlined in a position paper for the Government which was distributed to politicians, including Taoiseach Leo Varadkar today.

When it comes to access to new cancer drugs and general medicines Ireland is bottom of the table, it says.

A spokesman said: "We cannot hope to have a workable access process in Ireland if funding for medicines remains flat. This is despite the fact that the industry under the Framework Agreement is delivering on it’s commitment of €784 million in savings."

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