Doctor defends HSE as Ireland still pays high prices for drugs

Doctor defends HSE as Ireland still pays high prices for drugs

A Clinical Director at St James Hospital in Dublin has said the HSE is not to blame for the price of medication in Ireland.

In some instances Ireland is still paying four times more than Britain for drugs despite the introduction of a new pricing structure agreed between the pharmaceutical industry and the Department of Health last Thursday.

A Sunday Business Post investigation found that the HSE pays more than €9 for a month's supply of cholestoral lowering drugs while the NHS pays €2 for the same generic medicine.

Michael Barry, Clinical Director of the National Centre for Pharma-economics at St James Hospital, said bringing prices down too low could see pharma companies refusing to supply the Irish market.

Mr Barry said: "If we push prices too low then we could have problems with the supply of medicines and we have got to be careful.

"I think the HSE struck a right balance here, I have to say, and I also think that the provision to review the asking price on a regular basis will mean that we can actually push prices a little bit lower over time."


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