Minister Harris must answer questions regarding Entresto drug- Kelly

12 July 2017

Labour Spokesperson on Health, Alan Kelly TD, is demanding answers from the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, and the HSE, regarding their failure to allocate the drug Entresto for reimbursement – a drug which has been certified as both life saving and cost-effective.

Deputy Kelly said:

“Exactly a year ago, a state body certified that Entresto was a cost-effective treatment for heart failure patients.

“It did so because it’s a drug that keeps people out of hospital. They can be treated at home, enjoy a better quality of life and also – save the state money.

“Every heart failure patient that enters a hospital costs the state €7800. Yet the cost of Entresto to the HSE is approximately €1700 per patient per year.

“Instead of making a sensible decision quickly, the HSE sat on their hands for ten months, admit they didn’t have the money before passing responsibility back to Minister Harris last May.

“Bureaucratic bungling and passing the parcel is literally costing people’s lives.

“According to the IPHA deal, when the HSE can’t afford a new drug, the Minister can make a recommendation to Government.

“He has had the chance to do this since May of this year – why has he not done so? Is it that he does not have the permission of the Minister for Finance?

“If cost effective treatments can’t be sanctioned quickly – it means that nobody is in charge and the merry-go-round between the Minister and the HSE goes on and on and on and on.

“But the 20,000 or so patients that need this drug are suffering in the mean time.

“This drug can get people out of hospital beds and back home.

“It would be a disgrace for Cabinet to go off on their holidays and leave patients in need suffering.”

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