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Health service slow to adopt new medicines despite big industry presence, says IPHA

Posted on 10 months ago by Laurentina Kennedy

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The Irish health system is slow to adopt new medicines despite the large pharma industry presence in the country, according to the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association.

The top ten pharma companies in the world manufacture in Ireland, employing more than 30,000 people directly.
The IPHA contends that inadequate funding for new medicines is the reason for the slow rate of adoption of new medicines. The association conducted a survey which shows that people in Ireland want the country to be part of medical innovation and patients see the value in participating in the clinical trials.

Oliver O'Connor, CEO of the IPHA, said "We have had a tremendously cooperative relationship with the Government over Brexit, and ensuring the supply of medicines, and we really feel that this problem could be solved if we get together and sort out how we can fund new medicines. Having no funding for new medicines is not the answer for the contribution we want to make to medical innovation in the country."

In Ireland, 126 clinical studies are underway, compared with 322 for Denmark and 687 for Belgium. The reason Ireland does not conduct as many clinical trials is done to bureaucracy; "issues to do with the legal provision of clinical trials, and the amount of time that clinicians can give to it in their busy practices and hospitals, and too many ethics committees and so and so forth". 

Mr O'Connor said tremendous work has been done b Cancer Trials Ireland, but "we can do better."

What is the IPHA doing to accelerate access to medicines for patients? "We reach an agreement with the state every four years on pricing, so we have price cuts every single year on medicines. We provide savings and rebates of hundreds of millions of euro".

The agreement is due to be renegotiated this year, but the IPHA CEO said while it is ready to negotiate, the problem of the slow adoption of new medicines needs to be resolved.

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