Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Questions (226)

Darragh O'Brien

Question:

226. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Health the plans in place in order to address the shortage of anaphylactic pens here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40634/18]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) has advised that it is aware of the global intermittent supply of certain adrenaline auto-injectors (AAIs) that has subsequently impacted the Irish market. The shortage of these products has caused increased demand for the other AAI ranges marketed in Ireland resulting in further supply disruptions.

The Medicine Shortages Framework was launched in September. It is a collaborative initiative that brings together key players in the health sector with the aim of developing strategies to mitigate the effect of shortages in Ireland so that patient health is protected. This new framework will result in a co-ordinated national response to managing medicine shortages and provides mechanisms that can be swiftly activated if a shortage of a particular medicine does occur. The framework strengthens and improves procedures which provide enhanced protection for patients through forward planning and shortage identification. It was developed after extensive consultation with a wide range of stakeholders involved in the provision of medicines, including state agencies, healthcare professionals, patient groups, and industry.

The HPRA provides the platform for, and facilitates the coordination of, all stakeholders to share information in order to prevent or mitigate the impact of medicine shortages when they occur. A medicine shortages list is being maintained on the HPRA website as part of this framework and is updated frequently as new information arises in relation to shortages of individual medicines.

Under this framework, the HPRA has been working closely with all suppliers of AAIs in Ireland to reduce the impact of supply disruptions on patients and healthcare professionals. As a result, while there remain limited supplies of certain AAIs, alternative AAIs are available.

Due to the general increased demand for AAIs at this time of year individual pharmacies may still be experiencing supply issues, but there are supplies within the system and more are expected in the coming weeks.

While the supply situation for individual AAIs is subject to change the HPRA will be maintaining regular contact with all AAI suppliers and other relevant stakeholders, including wholesalers and healthcare professionals (including the Irish Food Allergy Network).

Patients and their carers should familiarise themselves with any AAI that has been supplied to them, especially if it is one they have not received previously. If a patient has any questions relating to administration of an AAI, they should speak to their pharmacist or doctor.