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Oliver O’Connor, Chief Executive of the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association, has welcomed the HSE’s confirmation that it will fund nine delayed medicines that, he claimed, patients have been “waiting too long for”, despite being routinely available in most other European countries.

He stated: “Lessons have to be learned from this dysfunctional process. The assessment and approvals process must be speeded up. It must be orderly and predictable, with clear communications.

Mr O’Connor called for confirmation that the HSE will not be required to send medicines up to the Minister or Government for political decision in future.

“It cannot be that decisions on new medicines should involve political pressure, upset patients in street demonstrations, frustrated doctors and media storms”, he continued.

The IPHA reiterated their calls earlier this summer for improved direction, through “clear policy with performance measures”, to ensure that patients get access to new medicines as fast as elsewhere in Europe.

The IPHA have claimed that their companies are providing savings of €785m over four years to create budget headroom for new medicines and expressed their wish to see other pharmaceutical companies being made to give up substantial savings and price cuts too.

The Chief Executive concluded by stating: “Other European countries assess the cost effective of medicines carefully, they have pricing like ours and control their medicines budget growth:  yet they can achieve faster access for patients to new medicines.  It is time Ireland does so too”.