Sunday 15 September 2019

'Financing for cancer and disability services hit if HSE overpays for drugs'


Support: Averil Power, CEO of the Irish Cancer Society. Picture: Andres Poveda
Support: Averil Power, CEO of the Irish Cancer Society. Picture: Andres Poveda
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

If the HSE overpays for drugs, there is less funding for cancer and disability services, Robert Watt, secretary general of the Department of Public Expenditure, warned yesterday.

"Value for money for the taxpayer and consumers needs to be at the heart of all we do," he told a seminar in Dublin.

He was speaking at the launch of a document by Medicines for Ireland, a group of pharmaceutical companies that make generic drugs.

The group wants a new pricing deal with the makers of generic and biosimilar drugs. Biosimilar drugs are an almost identical copy of an original product made by a different company.

It said that currently the State is "spending hundreds of millions of euro on expensive medicines despite the availability of more affordable, equally effective alternatives which could deliver savings".

Medicines for Ireland chair Owen McKeon claimed the current agreement negotiated with the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (IPHA) representing branded drug makers "effectively blocks biosimilars manufacturers from competing with originator manufacturers in Ireland".

It wants a new agreement next year to be negotiated with generics and biosimilars manufacturers, not just a minority of the industry to "achieve savings" on a national scale.

Averil Power, CEO of the Irish Cancer Society, supported the call for a minimum usage generic and biosimilars policy.

Irish Independent

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