Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Questions (601)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

601. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health the extent to which drug costs have fluctuated in each of the past five years to date; the way this continues to affect the budgetary situation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15424/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The cost to the HSE of drugs and medicines supplied under the GMS, Drug Payment and Long Term Illness schemes between 2008 and 2012 are set out below (corresponding figures for 2013 are not yet available).

YEAR

COST

2012

€1.53 billion

2011

€1.46 billion

2010

€1.53 billion

2009

€1.65 billion

2008

€1.59 billion

The figures above include dispensing fees and mark-ups paid to pharmacists.

My Department and the HSE continue to implement 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 reduced 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). In overall terms, price reductions of the order of 30% per item reimbursed have been achieved between 2009 and 2013; the average cost per item reimbursed is now running at 2001/2002 levels.