Confirmed: New Drugs now won’t be funded until November

Alan Kelly TD
27 September 2017

Following questions from Labour spokesperson on Health, Alan Kelly TD, it was confirmed this morning by the Minister for Health that nine new high tech drugs won’t be available to patients until November. These drugs have been found to be life saving and cost effective, and the HSE and Department of Health had said in July that sustainable funding arrangements would be put in place. This follows months of pressure from Deputy Kelly and impacted patients to secure access to these drugs.

Deputy Kelly said:

“For some time I have been seeking answers as to when funding would be released for nine new drugs that have been shown to be life saving and cost effective.

“Today at the Health Committee, the Minister for Health informed me that these would now not be funded until 1st November.

“This is unacceptable and confirms once again the inability of this Government to stick to their own deadlines.

“In July the HSE and Department of Health told us that patients would be provided with access to 9 approved drugs in September.

“It is disappointing that it required months of pressure from myself and patients to even ensure these drugs are funded at all.

“It is clear to me that the only reason for delay is the chronic funding shortages in the HSE, most of which is due to policy decisions made centrally by Government that are outside the control of the health service.

“This is direct evidence that bad budgeting by Government is now impacting on frontline health services, and the treatments available to patients.

“The nine drugs and the conditions they provide treatment for are:
– Erivedge for basal cell carcinoma
– Brintellix for depression
– Entresto for heart failure
– Lynparza for ovarian cancer
– Gazyvaro for follicular lymphoma
– Entyvio for Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis
– Opdivo for renal cell carcinoma
– Opdivo for Hodgkin’s lymphoma
– Otezla for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis

“The failure to fund these drugs will result in higher costs in acute hospitals”.

Notes to Editors:

The questions took place at the Oireachtas Health Committee this morning on the mid year review of the Health Vote (budget).

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