THE EU has criticised Health Minister James Reilly's department for failing to cut the prices of non-branded drugs in their final review before the bailout exit.
The cost of buying generic drugs, which are safe copies of well-known medicines, is three times more expensive here than in Britain.
The European Commission's final inspection report is critical of the Government for only cutting the price, so far, of one generic drug -- Atorvastatin, an anti-cholesterol drug -- out of a target of 20. It said that the commitment to cut generic drug prices by the end of last October was "not observed" by the Government.
The Government had insisted it had done its job by bringing forward the legislation which made it possible for it to reduce the price it pays for generic drugs. But the European Commission dispute this.
A Department of Health spokesman said it had to balance the need to achieve value for money for the taxpayer with the need to preserve a supply of drugs "particularly in a small market like Ireland".