HSE and pharmaceutical companies need to focus on patients - Louise O'Reilly TD
Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Louise O’Reilly TD has called on the HSE and pharmaceutical companies to focus on what is best for patients and their families when it comes to drug purchasing policy and the drugs that are made reimbursable under the Drugs Payment Scheme.
Deputy O’Reilly said:
“It has become an all too regular occurrence that patients are being informed that essential drugs will not be reimbursed by the health service. Such a situation is incredibly difficult and frustrating for those patients and their families.
“Without a radical change in the drug purchasing and reimbursement policies pursued by the HSE and reciprocal good will as regards costs of medicines by pharmaceutical companies then such situations are bound to continue.
“It behoves the HSE and pharmaceutical companies to ensure that when it comes to medicines, especially for rare or acutely debilitating diseases, that patients to be put front and centre of drug purchasing policy.
“The cost of medicines has been a serious issue for some time now. Only recently the European Parliament passed the ‘Report on EU options for improving access to medicines’, which criticised the cost of medicines and the conduct of large pharmaceutical companies, stating: ‘…in many cases, the prices of new medicines have increased during the past few decades to the point of being unaffordable to many European citizens and of threatening the sustainability of national health care systems’.
“In recent times, this has become an acute problem for the health service and it is then patients and their families who suffer. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that patient considerations are put front and centre by pharmaceutical companies when it comes to pricing drugs.
“The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union recognises the fundamental right of citizens to health and medical treatment, and all involved should recognise that and ensure that the right is upheld.
“I believe there is further need for the re-evaluation of our drug purchasing policy and further exploration of the possibilities of co-operation among EU countries for bulk purchasing and to counter large pharmaceutical companies who seek to profiteer off the illnesses and difficulties of vulnerable people.
“Without such changes patients will continue to suffer."