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Generic Drugs Substitution

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 13 March 2019

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Ceisteanna (25)

John Brassil


25. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Health when the biosimilars policy will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12202/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar 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 statement which will be published later this year.

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%.

The HSE is also working on identifying barriers to the prescribing of biosimilars with a specific focus on education and support.  It is seeking to increase understanding of biosimilars through targeted presentations to clinicians and hospitals. 

The culmination of these initiatives is a greater uptake in the usage of biosimilars and this is evident by hospital dispensing data.  For example, the prescribing rate for the biosimilar drug Infliximab has increased from 5% in 2017 to 40% in 2018.

My Department proposes to build on these positive developments and to bring forward a policy statement that would support and complement the many initiatives which are already underway.