In 2012, the State entered into a new three-year price reduction Agreement with the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (IPHA). Under this Agreement, prices are set by reference to the average of the approved prices across a basket of nine EU Member States. This Agreement remains in place until 31st October of this year.
As the end of the current Agreement approaches, consideration is being given to a range of options available to the State in seeking to deliver further savings on the cost of drugs. Such options include entering into a new Agreement with the IPHA, as well as the possibility of using the legislative powers afforded to the HSE under the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013 to review and alter prices.
An important objective in any new arrangement will be to secure significant savings on the projected cost of drugs, as well as continued access to cost-effective treatments. Since such savings may be the subject of negotiations with industry, I do not wish to place the State's detailed position or estimated savings into the public domain in advance.