Opinion Dan O'Brien

Monday 11 December 2017

Don't raise your glass to end of rip-off Republic

Court decisions in Scotland and Luxembourg could impact on the price of drugs and alcohol in Ireland

EURO FISSION: Britain’s PM Theresa May, Enda Kenny and Lithuania’s president Dalia Grybauskaite at the EU leaders summit in Brussels on Friday. Photo: Reuters/Francois Lenoir
EURO FISSION: Britain’s PM Theresa May, Enda Kenny and Lithuania’s president Dalia Grybauskaite at the EU leaders summit in Brussels on Friday. Photo: Reuters/Francois Lenoir
Dan O'Brien

Dan O'Brien

Medicines and alcohol cost more in Ireland than most other European countries. The latter is expensive because taxes on drink are the highest in Europe. The former are overpriced because drugs-makers use their huge presence in Ireland to squeeze taxpayers' money from the State and because the State won't do more to take on anti-competitive practices in the retail pharmacy business.

Decisions taken by courts abroad last week could affect the prices of both in Ireland in the future.

Consider drugs prices and costs first. By some measures, Irish people spend more per person on drugs than any other EU country, and that is despite the average age of the population being among the lowest (older people take more medicines).

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