Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (1281)

John Brassil


1281. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Health if he will request the creation of a cancer drugs fund to increase access to the latest cancer therapies in view of concerns raised by clinicians and patient groups that Ireland will fail to meet its five-year survival rate improvement targets for cancer as set out in the National Cancer Strategy 2017-2026; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32473/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The HSE has a standard assessment process in place for the approval of the reimbursement of new drugs and new indications for existing drugs. The aim is to arrive at decisions on the funding of drugs that are clinically appropriate, fair, consistent and sustainable. All cancer drugs that have been approved for reimbursement since 2012 have gone through this process. Funding for cancer drugs is considered on an annual basis as part of the Estimates process.

A key aim of the National Cancer Strategy 2017-2026 is for Ireland's cancer survival rates to be within the top quartile of European countries by 2026.

The National Cancer Registry Annual Report 2018 shows that there have been significant improvements in 5-year net survival rates in Ireland. Also, the CONCORD-3 Project, which examined data from over 37.5m people across 71 countries and territories from 2000-2014, showed that Ireland is currently ranked around mid-table for survival rates amongst our European counterparts.

It is acknowledged that there will be a need for on-going improvements in survival rates over the period of the Strategy to ensure that the aim for the top quartile of European countries is achieved.