The Department of Health and the HSE need to stop passing the buck over funding for nine life-saving drugs so that public patients do not suffer, Róisín Shortall TD said today.

Deputy Shortall made her comments following reports that the Department of Health and the HSE were at odds over whether the executive has sufficient budget to fund the new drugs this year.

Deputy Shortall said:

“The department and the HSE are passing the buck on this issue and the only people who suffer from the current situation are public patients who would benefit from these new drugs for cancer, depression and heart conditions.

“It’s high time that heads were knocked together to resolve this issue. It needs to be clearly established whether there is money available this year to fund these drugs. For future years, the ongoing costs for these drugs should be based on established procedures for funding new medicines. It is clear that what can’t happen in a start-stop approach to funding for such vital life-saving drugs, which is putting lives at risk.”

“Overall of course this wrangle once again highlights the fundamental problem that we are paying exorbitant costs for drugs. We wouldn’t have these sorts of crises on a regular basis over funding for new drugs if we got better value for money for medicines, as they do in countries including the UK, Portugal and Spain. The government has repeatedly promised to grasp the nettle on this issue but has failed to take any meaningful steps to reduce drugs costs.”

ENDS

27 July 2017