Posted on 11 months ago by Laurentina Kennedy
Ireland a world leader on cancer therapies, but behind on access
Budget 2021 a chance to address our performance for patients
Julie Trotter, senior quality tech, microbiology lab, at MSD Carlows Julie Trotter, senior quality tech, microbiology lab, at MSD Carlow.
Ireland is a world leader in making and producing cancer therapies, so why do Irish patients have to wait so long to access innovative medicines? It is a striking paradox of the Irish pharma success story: our top-class manufacturing plants make and produce innovative medicines for use in healthcare settings across the world, but Irish patients wait longer than most Europeans to access the latest approved therapies. This is particularly pointed when it comes to patients in Ireland trying to access cancer medicines.
The production of modern cancer medicines, as well as decisions on their reimbursement, may be complex. But, the simple reality is that every week, trucks loaded with in-demand cancer therapies bypass our patients on their way to the port.
This contradiction came to mind as I reflected on the decision to begin producing cancer medicines at our Carlow site five years ago. It has, by any measure, become a stand-out success story in the global pharmaceutical industry – in contrast with Ireland’s record on access to medicines.
More than 30,000 people are employed in the pharma sector in Ireland