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Health | Efficiency of reimbursement with new and orphan drugs

To ask the Minister for Health if he remains satisfied that reimbursement in respect of new and orphan drugs and other emergency drugs is sufficiently speedy and capable of meeting the demand; if he has identified any shortcomings; if so, when these will be addressed; and if he will make a statement on the matter.


Since I was appointed Minister for Health, I have prioritised funding for medicines which has resulted in €98 million of funding dedicated to new medicines. This additional funding has provided access to 112 new medicines, or expanded uses of existing medicines, 35 of which were for the treatment of rare diseases.

I also secured two new Framework Agreements with industry which provide for sustainable access over the next four years and that will free up funding to pay for more innovative medicines.

During my term of office, I have introduced a significant number of changes to improve the process, including the introduction of additional number of Drugs Group slots by the HSE to consider applications, provide additional funding for posts in the Managed Medicines Programme, and Ireland joined the International Horizon Scanning Initiative (IHSI), a key tool to improve the speed of the HTA assessment.

Of course, I accept that the process can be further improved, and I want the process to be more transparent for patients and all stakeholders, and opened up to greater patient involvement and scrutiny.

I have already asked the HSE to bring forward proposals supporting a number of these improvements, and my officials are in a process of engagement with their HSE counterparts with a view to introducing other measures to streamline the process.

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