Drugs fund to be set up in wake of CF row

A new drugs fund is to be set up by Health Minister Simon Harris who is due to bring details of next year’s health spend to cabinet today.

It comes after huge pressure was placed on the Government to set up a similar fund to pay for expensive drugs such as Orkambi for CF sufferers.

The fund could mean that money could be earmarked to pay for drugs currently deemed too expensive by the HSE.

It is understood that Mr Harris will announce his intention to set up a new working group in his department to examine potential ways of establishing a new drugs fund for Ireland.

The minister wants his department to work on policy options to drive efficiencies in existing pharmaceutical spend in hospitals and direct any savings from this to a new drugs fund. This is in addition to the expected savings from the IPHA agreement which will also be used by the HSE for the provision of drugs.

The health minister will bring the HSE Service Plan to Cabinet before it is launched by the HSE tomorrow. The plan will detail how the HSE intends to spend the largest ever health budget in the history of the State.

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