Nine new drugs to be made available from November 1st

Labour TD Alan Kelly criticises HSE of making ‘false’ announcement in July

The drugs, for conditions such as cancer, heart disease and depression, will be made available from November 1st. Photograph: PA Wire

The drugs, for conditions such as cancer, heart disease and depression, will be made available from November 1st. Photograph: PA Wire

 

Nine new high-tech medicines are to be made available to patients from November 1st, Minister for Health Simon Harris has announced.

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

Funding for the drugs has been the subject of controversy over the past two years, until the HSE announced in July that an agreement for funding the drugs had been reached.

However, a continuing delay in providing the treatments to patients prompted expressions of concern by patients and further criticism of the HSE.

Mr Harris announced the date from which the drugs will be reimbursed at a meeting of the Oireachtas health committee on Wednesday. The funding for the drugs has been available since July, he emphasised, but time was needed to establish prescription pathways and other technical arrangements.

Labour TD Alan Kelly said this was the first he heard of an introduction date. The July announcement by the HSE was a “false” one, given the delay, he suggested.

Mr Harris agreed the process for approving the drugs was “entirely unedifying” but disagreed that the HSE had made a false announcement.

In July, the HSE promised some of the drugs would be available to patients at the end of September.

The drugs will cost €117 million over five years. The HSE only agreed to approve them after receiving assurances that funding them will be an identified priority for the Department in future Estimates processes.