Question No. 559 answered with Question No. 489.

Medical Card Applications

Questions (560)

Ciaran Lynch

Question:

560. Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Health if he will review the refusal of a medical card in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15190/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible. The Health Service Executive operates the General Medical Services scheme, which includes medical cards and GP visit cards, under the Health Act 1970, as amended. It has established a dedicated contact service for members of the Oireachtas specifically for queries relating to medical cards and GP visit cards, which the Deputy may wish to use for an earlier response. Contact information has issued to Oireachtas members.

Medicinal Products Availability

Questions (561)

Seamus Kirk

Question:

561. Deputy Seamus Kirk asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the early access to the medicines scheme launched in the UK; if there is a comparative plan here; and, if not, if he has any plans to develop one in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15194/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

On 14 March 2014, the UK Government announced the introduction of an Early Access to Medicines Scheme (EAMS) which aims to give patients with life threatening or seriously debilitating conditions access to medicines that have not yet obtained a marketing authorisation from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

I understand that, under the EAMS, medicines will be provided to patients at no charge by the relevant pharmaceutical company until they are licensed by the MHRA. I also understand that the UK Government does not intend to establish a dedicated fund to support access to medicines under the Scheme.

There is currently no equivalent scheme in place in Ireland. I will closely monitor the implementation of the EAMS in the UK.

Dental Services Provision

Questions (562, 563)

Brendan Smith

Question:

562. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the inadequate public dental services for the general Carrickmacross area, County Monaghan; if the current level of services will be reduced particularly affecting the services for primary school children; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15197/14]

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Brendan Smith

Question:

563. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Health his proposals to improve inadequate public dental services in Carrickmacross, County Monaghan and its general catchment area in County Monaghan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15198/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 562 and 563 together.

The HSE is responsible for providing dental care to schoolchildren. The matter has therefore been referred to the HSE for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.

Nursing Education

Questions (564)

Dara Calleary

Question:

564. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Health when places on an adaption course will be provided for nurses wishing to work in a nursing home (details supplied) in County Mayo; the steps being taken to address the current lack of adaption courses for overseas nurses coming to work here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15199/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I understand that St. Attracta's Nursing Home is a member of Nursing Homes Ireland (NHI). The NHI are currently in discussion with the HSE on the issue of adaptation. I have asked HSE to reply directly to the Deputy on this issue.

Medical Goods Regulation

Questions (565)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

565. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health the average time a pharmacoeconomic evaluation of a drug takes. [15202/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The HSE has statutory responsibility for decisions on pricing and reimbursement of medicinal products under the community drugs schemes in accordance with the provisions of the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013. The HSE receives applications for the inclusion of medicinal products in the GMS and community drugs schemes. The applications are considered in line with the procedures and timescales agreed by the Department of Health and the HSE with the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (IPHA) for the assessment of new medicines.

In accordance with these procedures, the National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics (NCPE) uses two different types of pharmacoeconomic evaluation - rapid review process and full pharmacoeconomic evaluation. The rapid review process is used to try to identify or triage out any medicines which do not require a full evaluation. The rapid review process typically takes between 2 and 4 weeks. In 2013, 43 rapid reviews were completed and 51% of those resulted in positive recommendations typically within 2-4 weeks.

A full pharmacoeconomic evaluation is reserved in general for those medicines which are of high cost or have significant budget impact and which have not been approved via the rapid review process. The process used involves the pharmaceutical company in question submitting a detailed clinical and economic dossier to support the price it has chosen to seek. There is wide variation in the time taken by companies to submit these dossiers, in the amount of detail provided in initial dossiers and in the extent to which the initial dossier address relevant concerns. There is frequently a significant amount of clarification which the NCPE must require from companies. When the NCPE requests that data the clock is stopped on the assessment until the company provides that necessary data. The NCPE completes all phamaco-economic evaluations within the 180 day timeline set out in the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013. The Act allows for stop clocks where companies are required to provide additional data. In 2013 the NCPE completed 11 full pharmacoeconomic evaluations. The average length of time taken was 67 days.

The pharmacoeconomic evaluation process is an important input into the decision making process around new medicines.

Medical Goods Regulation

Questions (566)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

566. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health the date the pharmacoeconomic evaluation of Nalmefeme Selincro began and when it is likely to conclude and if there are any particular reasons this evaluation might be more complicated than usual; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15203/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The HSE has statutory responsibility for decisions on pricing and reimbursement of medicinal products under the community drugs schemes in accordance with the provisions of the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013.

The HSE received an application for the inclusion of Nalmefeme (Selincro) in the GMS and community drugs schemes. The application is being considered in line with the procedures and timescales agreed by the Department of Health and the HSE with the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (IPHA) for the assessment of new medicines.

In accordance with these procedures, the National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics (NCPE) commenced a pharmacoeconomic evaluation of Nalmefeme (Selincro) on 21 October 2013, which will provide detailed information on the potential budget impact of the medicine. It also assesses whether the medicine is cost effective at the price quoted by the company in question. The NCPE report is an important input to assist the HSE in its decision making process.

No further comment is possible at this time while the NCPE assessment process is ongoing.

Drugs Payment Scheme Coverage

Questions (567, 591)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

567. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health if he will include Fampyra, a drug produced by Biogen and used in the treatment of multiple sclerosis, on the drugs payment scheme or long-term illness scheme; if due consideration will be given to the cost and effectiveness of this drug; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15205/14]

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Kevin Humphreys

Question:

591. Deputy Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question No. 1110 of 25 March 2014, if he will answer the issues raised in the questions, specifically if his attention has been drawn to the benefits the drug Fampyra has given sufferers of multiple sclerosis; if he will immediately make the drug available to persons who need it under the State schemes; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the monthly costs for a patient on the LTI scheme who needs this drug are approximately €343; if he will ask the National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics to conduct another pharmacoeconomic evaluation of Fampridine; if he will arrange for the Health Service Executive to cover the costs of the drug in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 8 as it has delivered a marked improvement in mobility, as answers to these points were not addressed in the reply; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15358/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 567 and 591 together.

The HSE has statutory responsibility for decisions on pricing and reimbursement of medicinal products under the community drug schemes in accordance with the provisions of the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013.

The HSE received an application for the inclusion of Fampridine (Fampyra®) in the GMS and community drugs schemes. The application was considered in line with the procedures and timescales agreed by the Department of Health and the HSE with the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (IPHA) for the assessment of new medicines. In accordance with these procedures, the National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics (NCPE) conducted a pharmacoeconomic evaluation of Fampridine and concluded that, as the manufacturer was unable to demonstrate the cost effectiveness of Fampridine in the Irish healthcare setting, it was unable to recommend the reimbursement of the product. The report is available on the NCPE's website (www.ncpe.ie). The NCPE report is an important input to assist the HSE in its decision making process and informs further discussions between the HSE and the manufacturer of the drug. The HSE assessment process is intended to arrive at a decision on the funding of new medicines that is clinically appropriate, fair, consistent and sustainable. Due to the very difficult and challenging economic environment in which the Government targeted additional savings in health expenditure of €666 million in 2014, which must be achieved while protecting front line services to the most vulnerable to the greatest extent possible, the HSE has decided it was not in a position to add the drug to the List of Reimbursable Items supplied under the GMS and other community drug schemes.

It is open to the supplier, at any time, to submit a new application to the HSE incorporating evidence which demonstrates the cost effectiveness of Fampridine. The HSE will then re-consider the application to add this product to the List of Reimbursable Items, in line with the agreed procedures and timescales for the assessment of new medicines.

Health Services

Questions (568)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

568. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health the specific treatments and supports available for patients with lymphoedema; if he acknowledges that the suite of treatment and supports compare poorly with neighbouring jurisdictions; if he will outline plans to improve awareness among medical professionals of this condition and for its treatment and the ongoing support of sufferers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15206/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I have been informed by the HSE that a survey is being carried out on lymphoedema services. Accordingly I have asked the HSE to respond directly to the Deputy on the matter.

Health Services Staff Remuneration

Question No. 570 answered with Question No. 490.

Questions (569)

Denis Naughten

Question:

569. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health the total remuneration package paid for the post of director of the National Ambulance Service in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15214/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond directly to the Deputy.

Question No. 570 answered with Question No. 490.

Health Services Staff Recruitment

Question No. 572 answered with Question No. 492.

Questions (571)

James Bannon

Question:

571. Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Health the progress to date in filling the post of an ophthalmic physician for Longford-Westmeath which was vacated last October; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15227/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Question No. 572 answered with Question No. 492.

Ambulance Service Provision

Questions (573)

James Bannon

Question:

573. Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Health the number of ambulances serving the people of County Longford at any given time from its department adjoining St. Joseph's care centre, Longford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15237/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond directly to the Deputy.

Long-Term Illness Scheme Coverage

Questions (574)

John Lyons

Question:

574. Deputy John Lyons asked the Minister for Health if he will consider a review of the long-term illness scheme to include a wider range of conditions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15240/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

There are no plans to extend the list of conditions covered by the Long Term Illness scheme.

Under the Drug Payment Scheme, no individual or family pays more than €144 per calendar month towards the cost of approved prescribed medicines. The scheme significantly reduces the cost burden for families and individuals incurring ongoing expenditure on medicines.

In addition, people who cannot, without undue hardship, arrange for the provision of medical services for themselves and their dependants may be entitled to a medical card. In the assessment process, the Health Service Executive can take into account medical costs incurred by an individual or a family. Those who are not eligible for a medical card may still be able to avail of a GP visit card, which covers the cost of GP consultations.