Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Ceisteanna (570, 612)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

570. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health further to a report in a Sunday newspaper which suggested that generic drugs and medicines here cost as much as 24 times more than the same medicines in Britain, the research undertaken by his Department or by the Competition Authority in this area; and the steps he will take to ensure that drugs and medicines are sold at reasonable prices here. [12634/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

612. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health further to a report in a Sunday newspaper which suggested that generic drugs and medicines here cost as much as 24 times more than the same medicines in Britain, the research he had undertaken in this area and the steps he will take to ensure that drugs and medicines are acquired at reasonable prices here. [12633/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 570 and 612 together.

The prices of drugs vary between countries for a number of reasons, including different prices set by manufacturers, different wholesale and pharmacy mark-ups, different dispensing fees and different rates of VAT. In recent years, a number of changes to the pricing and reimbursement system have been successfully introduced in Ireland. These have resulted in reductions in the prices of thousands of medicines.

The Department and the HSE have successfully finalised discussions with the Association of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers in Ireland (APMI), which represents the generic industry, on a new agreement to deliver further savings in the cost of generic drugs. Under this Agreement, from 1 November 2012, the HSE will only reimburse generic products which have been priced at 50% or less of the initial price of an originator medicine. In the event that an originator medicine is priced at less than 50% of its initial price the HSE will require a generic price to be priced below the originator price. This represents a significant structural change in generic drug pricing and should lead to an increase in the generic prescribing rate.

In addition, the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Bill 2012, which is currently before the House, provides for the introduction of a system of generic substitution and reference pricing for prescribed drugs and medicines. These reforms will promote price competition among suppliers and ensure that lower prices are paid for these medicines resulting in further savings for taxpayers and patients.