New heart drug becomes available to patients

HSE will reimburse the costs of Entresto to treat adults with chronic heart failure

A drug to treat adults with chronic heart failure will become available to suitable patients in Ireland from Friday.

A drug to treat adults with chronic heart failure will become available to suitable patients in Ireland from Friday.

 

A drug to treat adults with chronic heart failure will become available to suitable patients in Ireland from Friday.

The HSE will reimburse the cost of the drug, Entresto, from December 1st. About 20,000 adults in Ireland suffer from chronic, symptomatic heart failure.

It is one of nine new high-tech medicines that will be made available to patients following the resolution last July of a funding dispute between the Health Service Executive (HSE) and the Department of Health.

The manufacturer, Novartis, confirmed the HSE would reimburse the drug costs and that it would be made available to suitable patients.

It noted that this was one of the nine drugs that had been caught up in the reimbursement backlog and that it had been deemed cost effective by the National Centre for Pharmoeconomics in July 2016.

“It has been a considerably long wait for this cohort of patients,” a spokeswoman said.

The company said the drug was the first innovative therapy in heart failure in a decade and that the decision on reimbursement was “an important milestone for those living with the condition in Ireland and their families”.

Irish Heart Foundation medical director Dr Angie Brown welcomed that Entresto was now available to patients with heart failure as it had been shown to offer “significant improvements in the quality of life for heart failure patients helping them to live healthier and fuller lives”.

The nine new drugs, for conditions such as cancer, heart disease and depression, will be funded from the HSE’s existing budget.

It had previously said it did not have the funds to supply the drugs to patients but changed its stance after the department provided clarity on funding.

Under the agreement, the HSE will be able to fund the drugs through savings expected as a result of the number of medical cards fall as the economy improves.

The new drugs will cost €117 million over five years.