Price pressure and new medicines

 

Sir, – You report that Irish patients are being denied access to nine drugs (mostly cancer therapies) that are widely available across Europe, largely on cost grounds (“Price pressure keeps nine new drugs from Irish patients”, Business, April 23rd).

Governments should not permit the pharmaceutical industry to determine unilaterally the price of new medicines. These prices are rarely justifiable and bear little relationship to the expense of bringing medicines to the market.

Governments should use the legal powers available to them to issue a compulsory licence and secure new medicines at a far lower generic price.

Other responses to high prices include a demand that prices reflect underlying costs and that price controls be imposed where public funding contributed to the development of a drug.

These and many other solutions to the problem of highly priced new medicines will be explored by a panel of Irish and international experts at a conference to be held in Dublin in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland on May 2nd (Wednesday). – Yours, etc,

Dr KIERAN HARKIN ,

Access to Medicines Ireland,

Parliament Street,

Dublin 2.