Ireland beats Europe for prices of branded drugs

The pharmaceutical industry here has claimed wholesale prices for a host of branded drugs are now cheaper in Ireland than in other European countries.

The Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association said prices for patented products in Ireland were calculated as an average of prices in nine EU countries.

A spokesman said the price of most medicines across the board had come down by at least 10% since November, when a deal was reached between the association, the Department of Health, and the HSE.

“Medicine price issues are more complex than has been portrayed,” he said. People compare Ireland with Spain. Spain is a cheaper country generally than Ireland... Irish prices are coming closer to Spain on a lot of medicines and, in some cases, there are medicines that are cheaper.”

Branded medicines that are cheaper in Ireland include:

*Lipitor, an anti-cholesterol drug

*Lyrica, a drug to control seizures

*Zyvox, used to treat bacterial infections

*Sycrest, used to treat moderate to severe manic episodes.

A spokesman for the Department of Health said changes to the pricing and reimbursement system had resulted in price reductions on thousands of medicines.

According to the association, spending on medicines in Ireland has been falling since 2009 and is now fifth lowest in Europe, despite an increasing level of medicine usage.

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