Medicinal Products Prices

Questions (201)

Emmet Stagg

Question:

201. Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the Health Service Executive have sanctioned a price increase for Puri Nethol which is used by those suffering from chrons disease and cancer patients, which has seen the monthly prescription go up from €47 to €144; his views on whether this goes against his campaign to reduce the cost of medicines and will he have this decision reversed. [42772/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

My Department and the HSE have implemented a medicines pricing policy which aims to reduce the prices for medicines/improve value for money whilst also maintaining continuity of supply and availability of essential medicines. These aims are balanced in an attempt to maximise public health gain from available resources. As part of the pricing policies there has been a price freeze (i.e. no price increases allowed except in exceptional circumstances) for a number of years.

Over the last few years thousands of price reductions on medicines have occurred. For example, the price of over 500 different presentations of various medicines will reduce by between 5% and 29% on the 1st November 2013 as a consequence of agreements reached with the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (IPHA) and the Association of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers of Ireland (APMI).

Occasionally, price increases are required to maintain supplies of specific essential medicines. However, the HSE each year refuses a significant number of requests for price increases. Less than 50 price increases were allowed in the 8 years between 2006 and 2013.

In October 2012, the manufacturer of Purinethol informed the HSE that, following an examination of the viability of a number of product lines, it had decided to increase the price of Purinethol in Ireland and a number of other EU countries (including Germany, UK, Denmark and Finland).

The HSE engaged with the manufacturer in an attempt to negotiate a reduced price, however, the manufacturer was unwilling to do so.

As the manufacturer is the sole supplier of the product in Ireland, the HSE accepted the price increase in order to safeguard the supply of this essential medicine. The HSE granted the price increase with effect from 1 March 2013. Despite this increase, there is still only one supplier of the drug in the Irish market, which suggests that the HSE made the right decision in allowing the price increase in order to maintain supply.

It is important to note that the Irish price for Purinethol is not out of line with international prices.

Health Services Expenditure

Questions (202)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

202. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the position regarding decreased funding for Kerry Parents and Friends Association in budget 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42779/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The level of funding available for the health budget and the extent of the savings required in the health sector are being considered as part of the estimates and budgetary process for 2014 which is currently underway. Pending completion of the national estimates, budgetary and service planning process for 2014 it is not possible to predict the service levels to be provided next year for the disability sector.

HSE Regional Service Plans

Questions (203)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

203. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the position regarding the provision of 24 hour medical service on island communities as part of the Irish Islands Federation (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42781/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy.

Departmental Staff Retirements

Questions (204)

Seán Fleming

Question:

204. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Health the reduction in public expenditure numbers that will be achieved in 2013 and 2014 from targeted redundancy and early retirement in his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43037/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

There are currently no targeted redundancy or early retirement packages in place in the Department of Health. To date in 2013 all staff who retired have been over 60 years of age or have retired due to ill health. There is no mechanism to predict how many early retirements there may be in 2014 as a result of the grace period for pension purposes under the Haddington Road Agreement.

Road Safety Issues

Questions (205)

Tom Fleming

Question:

205. Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will, as a matter of urgency, make available the required funding for the provision of a much needed pedestrian crossing on an area (details supplied) in County Kerry; if he will accept that this is major health and safety issue and take into consideration the fact that there is a significant general pedestrian usage apart from school generated pedestrian traffic in this busy tourist village; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42543/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is the statutory responsibility of each local authority, in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993. Works on those roads are funded from local authorities own resources supplemented by State road grants.  The initial selection and prioritisation of works to be funded is also a matter for the local authority.

In July this year local authorities were invited by the National Roads Authority to submit applications for consideration for funding in 2014 under the Low Cost Safety Improvement Scheme. The Council may wish to prioritise this project and include it in its applications for consideration under this grant category when they are submitted in due course. Alternatively, it is also open to Kerry County Council to fund this project from its Discretionary Grant.

It is also important to reiterate that the role of Exchequer grants for regional and local roads is to supplement Councils like Kerry County Council in their own resources spending in this area and it is open to the Council to undertake this work from its own resources. 

State Properties

Questions (206, 208)

Derek Nolan

Question:

206. Deputy Derek Nolan asked the Minister for Transport; Tourism and Sport if he will define the authority upon which State owned transport companies dispose of property assets; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42605/13]

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Derek Nolan

Question:

208. Deputy Derek Nolan asked the Minister for Transport; Tourism and Sport if his Department requires State owned transport companies to consult with stakeholders before disposing of property assets or define properties in respect of their strategic, long term, infrastructure needs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42607/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 206 and 208 together.

The transport companies under my aegis are the CIÉ group of companies and the Railway Procurement Agency. In the case of these agencies, the disposal of property assets is not subject to any specific authority from the Minister and no requirement is placed on them to consult with stakeholders. In the case of CIÉ, core assets such as rail lines, bus depots and other assets required to meet its statutory obligation to provide transport services may not be disposed of. There are also specific provisions in Section 21 of the Transport Act 1950, as amended by the Transport Acts 1958 and 1963, in relation to railway lines over which the services of trains have been terminated at any time.

The disposal of any asset with an anticipated value of over €150,000 by any State agency must comply with the guidelines laid down in the Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies.