Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Questions (108)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin


108. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health the progress to date towards the introduction of a national biosimilars strategy; if it will be drafted and implemented; the timeframe for each step; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5796/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

My Department and the HSE are engaging in a number of initiatives which will endeavour to lead to better access to medicines for patients, value for the taxpayer and the cost- effective provision of medicines in Ireland.

A public consultation on a National Biosimilar Medicines Policy was undertaken by my Department in 2017. The responses to that consultation and other possible policy levers are being considered by my Department with a view to developing a National Biosimilar Medicines Policy which will require the involvement of stakeholders from across the health service. I expect that my Department will make progress in this regard in 2019. At an operational level, the HSE's Acute Hospitals Drugs Management Programme has a biosimilar strategy in place since 2017 which is making considerable progress using a collaborative approach with hospital pharmacists and clinical teams to bring about changes in prescribing practice. In that respect, hospitals are working towards a targeted minimum prescribing rate for biosimilars of 50%.