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Spiralling cost of drugs to be reversed – Burke

25th June 2013 - Colm Burke TD

Fine Gael Cork North Central Senator and the Party’s Seanad Spokesperson on Health, Colm Burke, has said the commencement of the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013, which will allow for the introduction of a system of generic medicine substitution and reference pricing, will reverse the spiralling cost of drugs to the State which increased by 221% in the ten years from 2000-2010.


Senator Burke also said the Bill, which will deal with statutory procedures governing the supply, reimbursement and pricing of medicines and other items to patients under the GMS and community drug schemes, will ensure better value for the taxpayer and help to reduce budgetary overruns in the Department of Health.


“The Irish Medicines Board will now commence a review of an initial 20 active substances, which equates to approximately 1,500 individual medicines. From the end of the year onwards, hundreds of thousands of prescriptions will be subject to generic substitution, which will offer choice and reduced prices to patients.


“Between 2000 and 2010, the cost of drugs under the General Medical Scheme increased from €338.8 million to €1.23 billion, and the cost of drugs under the Drugs Payment Scheme increased from €140.6 million to €173.4 million. During this period, the total amount of the cost of drugs to the State increased by a staggering 221%.


“The introduction of the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013 will allow for greater access to generic medicines which will play a significant part in driving down budgetary overruns and significantly reduce the costs of medicines to patients.


“On entering Government, the Minister for Health, Dr. James Reilly TD, made it a top priority to tackle this problem and to reduce the cost of drugs in Ireland so that we can be brought into line with other EU countries. The commencement of this Act will provide a robust statutory framework in which to make these savings.”





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