Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Questions (640)

Mark Ward

Question:

640. Deputy Mark Ward asked the Minister for Health the number of whole-time equivalents in the National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics in 2019 and 2020; the budget allocation for same in 2019, 2020 and 2021, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2804/21]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics (NCPE) was established in 1998. Its remit is to advise the HSE and the Department of Health in relation to the cost-effectiveness of medicines, through the carrying out of health technology assessments (HTAs).

The NCPE's workload has increased significantly in recent years, from fewer than 10 assessments per year in 2007 to 83 assessments in 2020. In addition, the complexity of individual assessments has increased.

An independent review of the NCPE's work by Grant Thornton in 2017 (when the number of assessments was 56 per annum) indicated that the NCPE was understaffed and that an additional 9 staff, to include senior pharmacists, HTA assessors and statisticians, would be required to meet the increased workload. An additional €750,000 was allocated by the Minister for Health in 2018 to support the working of the NCPE.

The number of whole-time equivalents on staff at the NCPE (2019 – 2021) and the total cost, as of 15 January 2021, is shown in the table below.

-

2019

2020

2021

Core funded staff (WTE)

17.5

20.5

20.5

Budget by year: Core funded staff

€1,578,000

€1,828,500

€1,828,500

Expenditure detailed in this table includes all costs, such as salary, superannuation and non-pay costs (ongoing training and upskilling costs etc.).