Wednesday 23 January 2019

Irish patients miss out on new heart and cancer drugs

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Allison Bray

Allison Bray

A two-year logjam in the drug approval process means Ireland is lagging behind its European neighbours in providing promising new medicines for patients, according to the representative body for the pharmaceutical industry.

The Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (IPHA) claims that 10 new drugs - including seven cancer drugs, two cardiovascular drugs and one musculoskeletal treatment - are still pending approval despite the fact the same drugs are available in 12 European countries.

"This is very frustrating, both for clinicians and patients, because it shows Ireland continues to be among the slowest countries in western Europe to be able to access and reimburse innovative medicines," said IPHA chief executive Oliver O'Connor.

"That medicines for cancer and heart disease, Ireland's two biggest killer diseases, feature so prominently in the list is very concerning," he added.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health said it was "not in a position to comment on claims and assertions made by the representative body for the pharmaceutical industry" without having seen their data.

However, it said the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013 governing approval of new drugs had "put in place a fair, transparent and rigorous process for the assessment of all drugs with clear decision-making processes, which capture both the clinical benefit of any new drug as well as its cost effectiveness, including value for money."

Irish Independent

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