Irish patients continue to be denied vital new drugs

Todays’ article in the Irish Times[1] highlights again that patients in Ireland continue to be denied nine drugs which are already approved for use by the National Centre of Pharmacoeconomics (NCPE). They have been waiting on average for 2 years for the Health Service Executive (HSE) to approve them for reimbursement. The drugs concerned range from those for a rare genetic disease, spinal muscular atrophy to cancer drugs from large pharmaceutical and smaller biotech companies.

Amazingly data from the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association demonstrates that only 57 of nearly 150 medicines which have been approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) over the last three years to the end of 2016 were approved and made available for Irish patients at the end of 2017. [2]

Two of the drugs stuck in the Irish process are already available in all the 14 states against which Irish products prices are referenced. One of these being Biogen’s drug Spinraza, for the rare genetic disease, spinal muscular atrophy and the second Pfizer’s breast cancer drug Ibrance . Other companies with drugs on the list are cancer drug heavyweights Roche and Bristol Myers Squibb, as well as the smaller biotech groups Amgen and Sanofi, which has two of its drugs awaiting approval.

There is a major concern that the current pricing agreement with the government to keep Ireland at the forefront of its peers in respect of early access to new medicines is failing abysmally. Irish patients are certainly feeling the brunt.

Author: Alison Kneen, Vice President International Operations

Email Alison at [email protected] 

Partners4Access are global specialists in Orphan Drug and Cell & Gene Therapy access making a difference to those involved in rare diseases. If you require assistance with your strategic market access please don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected].


[1] Irish Times online accessed 25th April 2018

[2] Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association IPHA    accessed 25th April 2018

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