Ireland falling behind when it comes to accessing new cancer medicines

26 March 2019

Labour Party Health spokesperson, Alan Kelly TD, has said the Government must do more to end delays to cancer patients accessing new cancer drugs and treatments.

Deputy Kelly said:

“It is a disgrace that cancer patients in Ireland are far less likely to receive new cancer drugs and treatment compared to other European countries.

“Currently, there is a 623 day wait from new oncology medicines are approved by the European Medicines Agency and when they come onto the Irish market. Compared to a 124 day wait to our colleagues in the United Kingdom, Ireland is seriously lagging behind in the provision of treatment.

“Not only are we lagging behind when it comes to the access of treatment, we are seriously falling behind when it comes to treatment innovation. Of the new oncology medicines licensed by the EMA between 2015-2017, only 42% of these are available in Ireland, yet 97% of new medicines are available in the UK and Germany.

“It is not good enough that Ireland is a laggard when it comes to the introduction of innovative cancer medicines. Irish patients should not be one of the last to receive often life-saving treatments.

“It cannot be the case where very sick patients have to shame the Government into providing oncology medicines like Pembro. People should not have to publicly share their health records in order to get the Government to approve the timely funding of drugs.

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