The Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (IPHA) has struck a new supply agreement worth over €400m that should ensure patients have timely access to new medicines.
The three-year agreement, which was reached with the Department of Health and the Health Service Executive, will see the price of hundreds of commonly used medicines cut by an average of 10%.
The agreement will provide over €400m in savings, reducing state expenditure on medicines through various schemes.
Upon the expiry of a patent, a medicine’s wholesale price will reduce by 30%, with a further drop to 50% of the original price occuring after 12 months.
Wholesalers will also receive less for existing patent-expired medicines, with prices initially being reduced to 60% from 1 November 2012, and then dropping to 50% of the original price a year later.
According to reports in The Irish Times, in return for making price concessions, pharmaceutical companies have been assured that new medicines will be approved under the HSE’s drug schemes once they have been proven to be cost-effective.
IPHA outgoing president David Gallagher said the new agreement assures Irish patients access to new medicines when they become available.
"Medicines are a key pillar of any advanced health system and medical innovation has extended life expectancy through reducing illness and death. Many patients are in need of new, advanced medicines in areas such as Alzheimer’s Disease, arthritis, cancer, stroke prevention, multiple sclerosis and cystic fibrosis," Gallagher said.
Despite increased need, the IPHA reports that medicine expenditure has been falling since 2009, making it the fifth lowest in Europe at 11.7%.