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Price pressure keeps nine new drugs from Irish patients

Price pressure keeps nine new drugs from Irish patients

Irish patients are being denied access to nine drugs that are widely available across Europe, largely on cost grounds.

The drugs – most of them cancer therapies – have gone through the Health Technology Assessment, which examines the clinical effectiveness and safety of new drugs as well as their cost-effectiveness and budget impact.

However, they are still not approved for patients by the HSE. On average, the nine drugs have been waiting for two years on a decision from the HSE as to whether it will pay for them, an industry group says.

The therapies are listed on a new quarterly monitor issued by the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (Ipha), which represents pharmaceutical manufacturers.

It reports on drugs that are stuck in the system and also those that have been approved. This initial report says that seven new therapies have been approved by the State so far this year. They include MSD’s cancer drug Keytruda and GlaxoSmithKline’s Nucala, which treats severe asthma.

Among the drugs still waiting for approval are Pfizer’s breast cancer drug ibrance and Spinraza, a Biogen drug for the rare genetic disease, spinal muscular atrophy.

Apart from Spinraza, six of the drugs on the list are cancer...

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