Scope to cut prices on specific medications, states report
Report recommends financial incentives for pharmacists to supply generic drugs
Report suggested a campaign be launched by the HSE to promote greater use of generic drugs. Photograph: Getty Images
Pharmacists should be offered financial incentives to supply certain generic drugs as part of a drive to reduce drugs costs in Ireland, an Oireachtas committee has suggested.
In a report presented to the Minister of Health, the Joint Committee on Health and Children says there is scope to reduce the cost of pharmaceutical drugs in Ireland.
Among its recommendations the committee suggests a potential financial incentive mechanism for pharmacists to supply generic drugs which come under the high-tech drug scheme, which covers high-cost cancer and arthritis drugs.
It also suggested a campaign be launched by the HSE to promote greater use of generic drugs, emphasising their efficacy and dispelling misinformation that might exist around their use.
The committee wants the number of countries with which Irish drug prices are compared to be increased from nine to 15 to ensure prices in low-cost countries are included, and says baseline price comparisons with other EU member states should be published annually.
It recommended the HSE and the Department of Health “closely monitor the impact of national drug price policy on the drug supply”, and said any changes to the drug pricing model should be published as part of any new agreement.
Committee chairman Jerry Buttimer said the report, which has been presented to the Minister for Health for his consideration, was timely, given the 2012-2015 agreement between the HSE and pharmaceutical companies is due for renewal.
“Price differences between brand-name medications and generic medications can be substantial. Their widespread use can be effective at helping to reduce the often exorbitant prices of brand-name drugs,” Mr Buttimer said.