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International collaboration on drugs pricing on agenda

06 Mar 2017

The Minister for Health, who has said he has reached out to colleagues in other countries seeking international collaboration in regard to drugs purchasing, believes this could be an “effective tool” to positively influence the pricing strategies of manufacturers.

“It is important that we challenge the pricing structure and practices adopted by the pharmaceutical industry so that patients can access innovative products,” Minister Simon Harris stated.

The medicines bill in Ireland has increased from €400 million in 1998 to more than €2 billion in 2016. Securing access to innovative medicines for citizens at an affordable price was therefore a major challenge, and not one that would be easily solved, he told the Joint Oireachtas Health Committee last week (Feb 22).

A number of key initiatives have been introduced, including agreements with industry, the most recent being signed in June of last year, as well as the introduction of generic substitution and reference pricing. These initiatives had generated savings and reduced prices, the Minister stressed.

gary.culliton@imt.ie

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