Urgency needed to improve access to vital cancer treatments – David Cullinane TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health, David Cullinane TD, has urged the Minister for Health to move quickly to reduce delays in access to first-rate new cancer therapies.
Teachta Cullinane was reacting to claims made by leading oncologists that 1-in-4 cancer patients are not getting access to the first-rate therapies they need.
The Waterford TD said that the current system for approving new treatments takes far too long, and that ending months-long delays can make the difference for patients.
Approval for reimbursement is necessary for a treatment to be available to public patients. New treatments are often waiting two years or more for approval, compared to one-to-two years in most European countries.
Teachta Cullinane said:
“It is unacceptable that 1-in-4 cancer patients are not getting access to the first-rate therapies that they need.
“The HSE's approval process for reimbursement of new treatments takes far too long. This has been known for some time, and was confirmed earlier this year by the long-awaited review of the HSE drug reimbursement process.
“Ending months-long delays can make the difference for patients.
“Ireland is behind the curve on approving new medicines for public patients. Many of these treatments are available to private patients and this inequality is unacceptable.
“Value for money is important to manage the health budget, but other countries are achieving value for money and quicker access for their patients.
“It is beyond time that the HSE stops relying on companies to come to it looking to sell their treatments. We must move to a model where clinicians can seek out the best treatments and work proactively with the HSE to bring them into the system.
“Urgency is needed from the Minister for Health to increase resourcing and transparency in the approval process, and reduce the length of time that patients are waiting for new treatments to be approved by the HSE.”