Thursday, 18 April 2013

Questions (238, 239, 243)

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin

Question:

238. Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin asked the Minister for Health the reason National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics has refused to fund the drug Pirfenidone on financial grounds in view of the fact that Pirfenidone is the only drug available to treat patients with idiopathic lung fibrosis, a progressive terminal lung disease of no known origin, and is therefore a vital life giving medication; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18006/13]

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Joanna Tuffy

Question:

239. Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Health if he will make available the drug Pirfenidone (details supplied) to patients suffering from idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18020/13]

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Timmy Dooley

Question:

243. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Health if he will consider including pirfenidone on the drug payment scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18066/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 238, 239 and 243 together.

Following a pharmacoeconomic evaluation of pirfenidone (Esbriet), the National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics concluded that, at the submitted price, pirfenidone is not cost-effective for the treatment of patients with mild to moderate idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

The HSE is currently in negotiations with the manufacturers of pirfenidone (Esbriet) and therefore it would not be appropriate to comment further while these negotiations are ongoing.

The application to the HSE for the reimbursement of this product under the Community Drugs Schemes is being considered in line with the agreed procedures and timescales for the assessment of new medicines as per the 2012 agreement between the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association, the HSE and the Department of Health.