Imminent pharma price deal could save State €785m

A decision on a multi-billion euro deal between the State and pharmaceutical companies, on price cuts, is imminent.

The Irish Examiner understands that a formal announcement on the agreement is expected this week and is projected to yield savings for the State in the region of €785m.

The Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association, the Department of Health and the Health Service Executive are believed to be finalising the deal.

It has been reported the deal will, for the first time, result in a yearly downward only realignment of medicines.

The will be alignment price cut every August over the next four years and the basket of countries for price-setting will be expanded from nine to 14.

Medicine prices have been based on the average across Austria, Denmark, Belgium, France, Finland, Germany, Britain, Denmark and Spain. In future, Greece, Portugal, Sweden, Luxembourg and Italy will be included in any new pricing structure.

It is understood the new deal contains a clause that protects the drug companies from a drop in the value of sterling.

When talks between the IPHA and the State failed to reach an agreement earlier this year, the Government threatened legislation in a bid to bring the parties back to the table.

The Irish Pharmacy Union said it wanted to be given reasonable notice of the price reductions so they were not left holding stocks of medicines purchased at the old, higher prices.

It also warned that some patients might experience a disruption in the supply of their drugs because pharmacists could not get them at the new lower prices.

The IPU said a previous minister for health gave a commitment to the IPU that it would receive a minimum of two weeks notice of reimbursement price changes.


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