Monday 20 November 2017

New pricing deal on drugs to save €400m on health budget

Eilish O’Regan

A NEW pricing deal, worked out between the Department of Health and pharmaceutical companies, will lead to €400m in savings in the State’s drugs bill as well as lower costs for patients, it was claimed today.

The agreement was announced by the Department of Health after lengthy negotiations with the Irish Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association (IPHA), which represents drugs firms which make branded and off-patent drugs.

The €400m in savings to the State will be spread over three years and comes after criticism of the Minister for Health James Reilly cutting spending on services such as home help while failing to tackle the huge cost of drugs.

The price of drugs which are off patent before November 2012 will be cut by 50pc by this time next year.

Another 400 branded drugs which were still in patent up to 2006 will be subject to a price review and this could see the cost of some of the medicines drop by 16pc.

Minister of State with responsibility for Primary Care Alex White said the new deal, combined with an agreement reached earlier this year, will mean €16m will be saved in the State’s drugs bill this year.

Next year the drugs bill should be reduced by €116m Minister White said - the current cost of drugs in the health system is over €2bn a year.

Part of the new agreement will mean that the cost of introducing new high-tech drugs, which traditionally can be very expensive, will also be reduced.

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