HEALTH Minister James Reilly predicted today that a new system of setting the price of drugs will cut down on the medicines’ bill for the State and patients.
He was reacting to figures showing that the price of some generic drugs here is 24 times higher than in the NHS in the UK.
The Minister said long-promised legislation – which will allow for the introduction of a system of reference pricing – is in its final stages in the Oireachtas and this will allow the State more control over the cost of drugs.
The most cost-effective drug to treat a particular form of illness will be chosen this will be the only medicine which the State will cover in full.
If patients want a more expensive version of the drug they must pay the price difference themselves.
This will be particularly useful in bringing down the costs of treating cholesterol and stomach ailments such as ulcers which absorb around a quarter of the drugs’ bill, he added. Other measures also underway including better information from the HSE for GPs to direct them on what is the most cost effective drug they should prescribe, he added.