The price of medicines in Ireland has been controlled since 1972 through multi-annual agreements with the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association, IPHA, and the Association of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers of Ireland, APMI. Under these agreements, the maximum price to the wholesaler of any new medicine covered by the agreement may not, on the notification date, exceed the UK wholesale price or the average of a basket of EU countries, whichever is lower. A price freeze is in place for existing products covered by the agreement. The current agreement has been extended to mid-2005.
Under the general medical services scheme, the State reimburses pharmacists the trade price of the drug plus a dispensing fee. For the drugs payment and long term illness schemes, the State reimburses the trade price of the medicine, the retail mark-up, normally 50% of the trade price, and a standard dispensing fee. My department has no function in relation to the retail mark-up on private dispensing.