Life saving drugs still caught in funding logjam for as long as 12 months now

27 July 2017
  • HSE took 10 months to refer life-saving drug Entresto  to the Department of Health
  • Department took two months to refer it back to the HSE
  • What is going on asks Alan Kelly?

Labour Health Spokesperson Alan Kelly has called for immediate action from the Department of Health and the HSE over the nine drugs currently caught in a funding logjam between them.

Deputy Kelly said:

“The HSE referred nine drugs to the Department of Health as they couldn’t afford them. Now the Department seems to have kicked them back to the HSE. You have to ask – what is going on?

“One of those drugs, Entresto, was certified as being ‘cost effective’ and ‘life saving’ to me in the Health Committee on July 12th. It was further confirmed that it was received by the HSE in July of last year.

“The HSE then referred it back to the Department of Health in May of this year – only for at some point last week, the Department referring it right back to the HSE,”

“What is going on? Why send them to the Department if they are only going to refer them right back to you? Is this anyway to run a health service?

“Patients are suffering while the HSE and Department are playing pass the parcel.

“All of these facts are in the public domain and not under dispute in any way, shape or form.

“As Dr. Niall Colwell articulated on RTE’s Morning Ireland this morning Entresto is a life saving drug.

“This drug is routinely available across Europe and has been fast-tracked for approval in the US.

“Yet it is still caught in this funding logjam or parcel passing exercise.

“It was confirmed to me in the health committee that the cost of all of those drugs is €120million.

“I imagine, when Minister Harris realised the Department of Finance would not give him funding for all those drugs – he decided to refer it back to the HSE for political cover.

“Minister Harris did the right thing when it came to Orkambi, but when he has had to make an unpopular decision and choose which drugs to fund – he has kicked for touch right back to the HSE. That’s not new politics, it’s an abdication of responsibility.

“He has previously claimed that the IPHA deal would save the state over €700 million for new drugs. Yet, drugs that cost approximately €25million, like Entresto, are still waiting in funding limbo.

“All nine of these drugs have passed the clinical examinations by the HSE, however Entresto has been shown to be cost effective and will prevent patients ending up on in acute care.

“Nobody knows what is happening with these drugs. Nobody knows when they will get reimbursement – if ever.

“This makes a mockery of new politics in my opinion.”

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