Access to medicines

 

Sir, – I read on the front page of The Irish Times that the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (IPHA) is concerned that “Irish patients are not getting access to medicines quickly enough” (“Irish patients denied access to drugs made in Ireland”, News, September 10th).

The reason these drugs have not been approved is that they fail to meet the cost-effective criteria required.

The price of these drugs is not determined by the expense of bringing the drug to market – but by the price the industry believes it can extract from Government. Ireland is not an “outlier”, as claimed by the IPHA; it struggles along with every other European country to pay the very high prices demanded by drug companies.

As long as the pharmaceutical industry is permitted to charge as it pleases for new drugs, patients will be used as a pawn in this exercise to determine drug prices.

Access to Medicine Ireland calls upon the pharmaceutical industry to offer its medicines at a fair price and to cease holding patients’ lives to ransom. The industry might then find that approval for reimbursement will be more readily achieved. – Yours, etc,

Dr KIERAN HARKIN,

Access to Medicines Ireland,

Comhlámh,

Parliament Street,

Dublin 2.