Bud­get for in­no­va­tive medicines urged

The Irish Times - Business - - BUSINESS NEWS - DO­MINIC COYLE

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.”

New medicines

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.

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