Thursday 22 February 2018

New deal on drugs prices will save taxpayer €750m over next four years - Health Minister

The Government and 38 pharmaceutical firms made a four-year deal which will save 785 million euro on the state's annual drugs bills
The Government and 38 pharmaceutical firms made a four-year deal which will save 785 million euro on the state's annual drugs bills

Eilish O’Regan

A new deal on drugs prices between pharmaceutical companies and the HSE will save the taxpayer €750m over the next four years, Health Minister Simon Harris said today.

It means that the national drugs bill will continue to rise – but at a slower rate.

“It will also bring the cost of medicines in Ireland more into line with other European countries,” he promised.

Drugs prices here are compared to a basket of other countries and this group is now being expanded to include Portugal, Sweden.

The Minister said: “I am delighted this deal delivers better value for the State and will provide better access for patients to new and existing drugs”.

“This new agreement with Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association  (IPHA) , representing branded drugs companies and its application to non-IPHA companies, will result in the HSE paying less for medicines from August 1.

“It will deliver an estimated €60m in savings over the next four years and additional savings from non-IPHA companies.”

“The Government wants to ensure that Irish patients continue to have access to new and innovative medicines and that Ireland remains at the forefront of its European peers in terms of early access to medicines in an affordable manner and within available resources. As a result of this agreement with IPHA, the HSE will be in a much stronger position to meet the increasing demand for existing medicines and also to invest in new medicines over the next four years.”

“The pricing provisions in this agreement represent a significant improvement on those contained in the previous agreement.  They will see an expansion of the reference basket used to set prices in Ireland from the present nine to 14 countries, including for the first time Greece, Italy and Portugal.

“The agreement also includes, for the first time, an annual price realignment to ensure that the prices of medicines in Ireland reduce in line with price changes across the reference Countries. A rebate of 5.25pc rising to 5.5pc will further reduce the overall cost of medicines in the years ahead,” he added.

"This agreement represents the outcome of an intensive and complex process of engagement between State officials and IPHA over recent months and I would like to acknowledge the substantial commitments which IPHA has made on behalf of its member companies,” the Minister said.

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