Written Answers. - Pharmacy Review Group.

John Gormley

Question:

281 Mr. Gormley asked the Minister for Health and Children his views on the recommendation of the Mortell review group that individual companies should be allowed to acquire up to 8% of pharmacy contracts in each health board area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11326/03]

John Gormley

Question:

284 Mr. Gormley asked the Minister for Health and Children if he intends to bring the Mortell report to Cabinet this month; if he will recommend the immediate adoption by Government of all its recommendations; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the IPU is opposed to the recommendation that individual companies may acquire 8% of the pharmacy contracts in each health board area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10639/03]

John Bruton

Question:

309 Mr. J. Bruton asked the Minister for Health and Children if he will make a statement on the adoption or otherwise by his Department of the recommendations made in the OECD review, Regulatory Reform in Ireland; and the concrete steps taken by his Department in pursuit of these recommendations since the publication of the report. [10789/03]

Jack Wall

Question:

316 Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Health and Children if his attention has been drawn to the grave concerns of the IPU in regard to the contents of the recent Mortell report; his Department's plans in regard to the report; if he will consider the contents of the IPU submission in regard to the capping of 8% proposed in the report; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10885/03]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 281, 284, 309 and 316 together.

As Minister for Health and Children, my responsibilities centre on the provision of a high quality health service. This includes ensuring, in so far as is possible, that adequate and accessible pharmacy services are generally available. I established the pharmacy review group, chaired by Professor Michael Mortell, in November 2001 to examine the pharmacy issues raised in the OECD report on regulatory reform in Ireland. The group based its approach on the principles set out for evidence based policy formulation by the EU level Mandelkern group – the Mandelkern group on better regulation final report, 13 November 2001. These include public and interest group consultation, analysis of the existing position and analysis of possible options. The group consulted widely and, in particular, invited submissions from consumer interests and special interest groups such as the Asthma Society and the Irish Heart Foundation.
The pharmacy review group submitted its report on 31 January 2003. I am currently examining the recommendations contained in the report and it is my intention that it will be published as soon as possible. Deputies will appreciate that it would be not be appropriate for me to comment on the report's recommendations before publication.