Just €16m of promised €60m will be saved this year after delay in talks
The cut in drug prices will generate just €16m in savings this year -- well below the €50m to €60m promised by Health Minister James Reilly in January.
The shortfall will mean the HSE, which is struggling with a deficit of €374m, will have to find the difference in savings or health cuts.
The reduced savings in the drugs bill are due to the delay in starting negotiations on a new pricing deal with the Irish Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association.
The talks were due to begin last spring but did not get under way until late summer.
In January, Dr Reilly (pictured) had promised the price cuts and other measures would generate a cut of more than €124m this year.
A spokeswoman for the department said that the €124m figure took account of a number of measures. The new deal is delivering gross savings in the region of €400m over three years with €16m expected in 2012 and an additional €116m in 2013. The remainder of the €270m savings will be delivered during 2014 and 2015.