Ireland could be joining a group of European countries who jointly negotiate pharmaceutical deals with major manufacturers.
Negotiations are to begin with Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Austria on drug pricing and supply.
The collaboration is known as the BeNeLuxA Initiative.
Health Minister Simon Harris says he'll be travelling to Belgium and the Netherlands soon to begin discussions with ministerial counterparts in both countries.
Minister Harris said “I’m delighted that Cabinet has given formal approval for Ireland to open these negotiations and I look forward to working with these countries to explore opportunities to secure affordable access to new medicines for Irish patients, through information sharing and policy exchange.
“Securing access to new and innovative medicines, in a manner that’s affordable and sustainable, is one of my key objectives.
“The BeNeLuxA collaboration is well established and is a concrete step forward. It will allow Ireland to explore opportunities, in an increasingly challenging environment of high pricing of medicines by pharmaceutical companies, to secure sustainable and affordable access for patients to new and innovative medicines.”