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Irish pharmaceutical association urges political parties to create a new medicines policy Posted 14/02/2020

The Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (IPHA) has urged political parties to mandate new policy to increase access to medicines ahead of the Irish general election, which was held on 8 February 2020.

The biopharmaceutical industry in Ireland is one of the country’s most significant employers, also accounting for around half of the country’s exports. Despite this, Ireland has been slow to provide new medicines to patients, who wait up to three times longer for medicines than those in other European countries.

The IPHA – the organization which represents the originator biopharmaceutical industry in Ireland – is now asking political parties to improve patient access to new medicines.

‘The next Government should adopt an explicit policy on how to allocate funding to new medicines, relying on both the state and industry contributions’, said the IPHA’s Chief Executive Oliver O’Connor.

‘As the political parties finalise their policy proposals […], we would urge them to place improving patients’ access to new medicines at the core of their plans for health’, added Mr O’Connor.

The IPHA say the Irish Government’s budget for 2020 allocated no new funding for new medicines, which is unsustainable and will not provide new medicines for patients in a timely manner.

The statement also describes the government’s reliance on industry and the internal savings of the Health Service Executive (HSE), which provides public health care for Irish citizens.

‘The HSE has to take care of a growing and ageing population, absorbing a substantial part of its additional funds. The way forward is political backing by parties and the next Government for serious discussion on funding new medicines between central Government, the HSE and the industry’, said Mr O’Connor, who believes this can be achieved in time for the 2021 budget.

Other efforts to increase access to medicines in Ireland include the country’s Biosimilar Medicines Policy [1] and a recent scheme to incentivize hospitals to switch to biosimilars [2].

Related articles
Ireland consults on National Biosimilar Medicines Policy

Ireland to publish biosimilars report

References
1. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Ireland’s National Biosimilar Medicines Policy aims to increase biosimilars use [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2020 Feb 14]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/Policies-Legislation/Ireland-s-National-Biosimilar-Medicines-Policy-aims-to-increase-biosimilars-use
2. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Irish hospitals to get incentives to switch patients to biosimilars [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2020 Feb 14]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/Biosimilars/General/Irish-hospitals-to-get-incentives-to-switch-patients-to-biosimilars

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