Budget for innovative medicines urged
The pharmaceutical industry is urging the Government to introduce “predictable multiannual budgeting” for breakthrough medicines in the budget.
Such budgeting needs to allow for “sustained, reasonable annual increases in funding for innovative medicines” and “horizon scanning” for new medicines that are close to commercialisation, says the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (Ipha).
The group, which represents big, research-based drug companies, says the Department of Health needs to more accurately project demand for existing treatments in a situation where the population is growing and ageing. “Market access remains a challenge,” said Aidan Lynch, newly elected president of Ipha and general manager at GSK Ireland. “Irish patients deserve access to new innovative medicines at speeds at least comparable to our western European peers.”
The aim, says Ipha in its Manifesto for Better Health, should be to make sure the Republic is in the top quarter of EU states for giving patients access to new medicines.
We remain among the slowest countries in western Europe to make innovative medicines available to patients, says Ipha. Some of these medicines are made in the Republic but are available in Europe before Irish patients can access them, says the group. Ipha has consistently declined to identify any of the medicines concerned.
Ipha has been arguing for some time that Gvernment is not doing enough to support the sector, despite an agreement on drug prices that will deliver €785 million in savings on medicine prices in the four years to July 2020.
It says inaction could affect investment decisions of major pharmaceutical companies – almost all of which have a significant presence in the State.