Thursday 13 December 2018

Ireland set to join coalition of four countries in bid to get cheaper medicine

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Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Ireland is set to join a co-op with Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Austria in a bid to get cheaper medicine.

Health Minister Simon Harris will today ask for Cabinet permission to sign up to the coalition known as the BeNeLuxA Initiative.

It is hoped that by teaming up with the four countries, Ireland will be in a stronger position to negotiate with big pharmaceutical companies.

In recent times, patients with severe illnesses have faced delays in receiving new medications because of protracted rows over the prices being charged. The most high-profile instance was the cystic fibrosis drug Orkambi, which was being quoted at a cost around €159,000 per patient.

Mr Harris will tell colleagues that joining the BeNeLuxA Initiative will enable Ireland to explore opportunities in an increasing challenging environment. The ultimate idea is to secure sustainable and affordable access for patients to new and innovative medicines.

There will also be scope for pooling information and expertise in the longer term.

Irish Independent

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