Expert believes Minister should 'stick with system' after allowing all cervical cancer sufferers access to expensive drug

Expert believes Minister should 'stick with system' after allowing all cervical cancer sufferers access to expensive drug
Minister for Health Simon Harris.

The head of the National Centre of Pharmaeconomics thinks the Minister for Health Simon Harris should “stick with the system” when it comes to approving access to expensive drugs.

Professor Michael Barry was commenting on the decision to make the cervical cancer drug Pembrol available to all women with cervical cancer, not just the 221 affected by the CervicalCheck controversy.

Speaking on RTE’s Morning Ireland Prof. Barry said that Pembrol had not been assessed and he thought the decision to make it available to all women with cervical cancer would be seen as “a one-off.”

He thought it would be best “to stick with the system.”

The decision to approve Pembrol for all women with cervical cancer was taken “at Ministerial level”, he said.

“Ideally I’d like to see drugs coming through the normal process.”

Prof. Barry said that the National Centre of Pharmaeconomics is in a position to negotiate with drug manufacturers to get a better price.

He also said that there should also be a managed access programme along with prior approval to prescribers, and any doctor seeking to prescribe drugs costing more than €100,000 per patient would require prior approval.

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