MFI meeting with the Seanad Special Select Committee on the Withdrawal of the UK from the EU

 

MFI meeting with the Seanad Special Select Committee on the Withdrawal of the UK from the EU

 

MFI Chairperson, David Delaney, and Vice Chairperson, Padraic O’Brien addressed the Seanad Special Select Committee on the Withdrawal of the UK from the EU on Tuesday (30th Oct 2021) at 1pm.

 

In his opening statement MFI Chairperson, David Delaney outlined to the Committee how the disruption to the supply of medicines in Northern Ireland as a result of Brexit could have a potentially negative effect on the availability of medicines and medical devices in Ireland. Vice Chairperson, Padraic O’Brien echoed these concerns and highlighted to the Committee the high level of preparation and hard work of MFI members to ensure the reliable supply of medicines to Ireland.

 

Throughout their engagement with Committee members, Mr Delaney and Mr O’Brien also stressed the importance of medicine supply chains being safeguarded and suggested a national medicines reserve be established in Ireland to protect patients against external shocks to the medicines supply chain such as Covid-19 or Brexit.

 

You can view the discussion here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sM9rGnTdAZM


Biosimilar Medicines Day

Biosimilar Medicines - the international experience and opportunities for Ireland

Hosted by Medicines for Ireland

 

Wednesday 10th November 2021

 

Medicines for Ireland, the Irish pharmaceutical trade association and the supplier of the majority of medicines in Ireland, is proud to host this virtual conference with a range of excellent speakers and panellists as part of the inaugural Biosimilar Medicines Day in Ireland.

 

This virtual event will take place from 12.00pm - 2.00pm on Wednesday 10th November 2021 with exciting and hugely experienced experts from Ireland, the UK, the EU and the United States.

 

The event is an opportunity to discuss and learn about the growth of biosimilar medicines, to look at the international experience and learn about the opportunities for patients in Ireland.

 

To register for the event and to find out more, click here: https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_wrVdRLvkRH2kpVssIzomkQ

 

https://youtu.be/d356viE7Pac 


Value Added Medicines Report: Discussion document on the contribution of Value Added Medicines in Ireland

We are pleased to publish our new report, “Value Added Medicines Report: Discussion document on the contribution of Value Added Medicines in Ireland”, which has been produced in conjunction with our sister organisation, Medicines for Europe.

 

The report outlines a range of important national and European policy recommendations that illustrate the important role that Value Added Medicines (VAMs) play in a wide range of benefits for patients and Healthcare Professionals – from ensuring better adherence and compliance, to keeping healthcare costs down by reducing the need for patients to be moved to expensive next line therapies.

 

The current Irish environment, and structure of reimbursement, does not allow the Irish government to harness these benefits, potentially saving costs and increasing patient care. We need a shift in mindset – from one that focuses purely on cost to an outlook that is centred around better outcomes for patients that takes a holistic look at the whole patient journey. Perhaps even more importantly, we need a new and simplified regulatory pathway for VAMs in Ireland.

 

That’s why all of us at Medicines for Ireland and within the Value Added Medicines Committee, welcome the opportunity to engage with key stakeholders on this important topic, and to begin the discussions around what a fit-for-purpose regulatory framework for VAMs may look like for Ireland. What’s clear is that we need a system that rewards innovation with appropriate incentives, whilst recognising the potential long-term value and savings that VAMs can bring to the State.

 

https://www.medicinesforireland.ie/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/MFI-Value-Added-Medicines-Report-1.pdf 


Medicines for Ireland (MFI) welcome opportunity to participate in negotiations to agree a new Framework Agreement on the Supply of Medicines to the Health Services

Medicines for Ireland (MFI) welcome opportunity to participate in negotiations to agree a new Framework Agreement on the Supply of Medicines to the Health Services

 

Over recent decades, the parameters of pricing mechanisms and supply arrangements for medicines in Ireland have been determined by the terms of successive agreements between the State and the respective representative bodies of the pharmaceutical industry in Ireland. The most recent agreement was the Framework Agreement on the Supply of Medicines to the Health Services 2016-2020 (FASPM). It has been confirmed that Medicines for Ireland, as the representatives of the suppliers of the majority of medicines to the HSE and to patients directly in Ireland, will be participating in the negotiations to agree a new Framework Agreement on the Supply of Medicines to the Health Services.

 

Detailed proposals from Medicines for Ireland have been submitted, which if implemented can help increase patient access to medicines in a sustainable way and improve affordability for the HSE.

 

Expenditure on medicines represents one of the largest areas of expenditure across the health service and will continue to grow in the years ahead and as an organisation Medicines for Ireland (MFI) share the objective of Government and the HSE in helping to secure affordable access to existing and new medicines in a timely manner.

 

The current Framework Agreement on the Supply of Medicines to the Health Services was due to end in July 2020, however, due to COVID-19 it was necessary to implement an extension until 31 July 2021 to facilitate preparatory work on the successor agreement within the context of the ongoing COVID-19 challenges.

 

The HSE has statutory responsibility for medicine pricing and reimbursement decisions, in accordance with The Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013. The Act specifies the criteria for decisions on the reimbursement of medicines, including provision for the existence of any framework agreements in place.

 


Significant price differential between generic medicines and non-generic medicines highlighted in ‘Generic Medicine in Ireland’ report

Significant price differential between generic medicines and non-generic medicines highlighted in ‘Generic Medicine in Ireland’ report

 

Wednesday 2nd June 2021

 

Very significant differentials between the price paid by the state for generic medicines versus non-generic medicines have been published in a new report from Medicines for Ireland (MFI).

 

The report, ‘Generic Medicine in Ireland’ has been published as part of Generic Medicines Day and shows that the average reimbursed price of generic medicines was €6 versus non-generic medicines which were €38. The reimbursed price is the price paid by the state for the medicines and this average €32 price differential illustrate the very significant savings that remain available for the state to avail of, through increased usage of generic medicines.

 

The ‘Generic Medicine in Ireland’ report has been published as part of Generic Medicines Day by Medicines for Ireland the pharmaceutical trade association and the supplier of the majority of medicines in Ireland to both the HSE and to patients directly.

 

Speaking during Generic Medicines Day, David Delaney Chairperson of Medicines for Ireland said;

 

“This report is an important reminder that the total spend by the HSE on medicines (€2.4 billion) is the largest single item in the healthcare budget (apart from payroll costs) and yet while there has been some progress in Ireland in the use of generics, it is still falling behind countries such as the UK and the rest of Europe who have much higher levels of generic medicines use.”

 

Generic Medicines Day is an opportunity to discuss how important generic medicines are for reducing costs and improving patient access to medicines in Ireland. We can see from the data that in the last 12 months the average reimbursed price of generic medicines was €6 versus non-generic medicines which were €38. This illustrates the levels of savings that can be made by the state in the years ahead.”

 

“The current penetration rate for generic medicines in Ireland is 73%, well behind the EU average. The use of generics has grown in Ireland over the last decade, however an increase in line with the EU average would lead to savings for the state, more patient access – better security of supply, thereby freeing money up for the funding of frontline services.”

 

“Since 2013, the use of generic medicines and biosimilars have provided savings of €1.6bn to the Irish state. There is further potential to save much more and there are many untapped areas of reform within the medicine pricing and reimbursement system in Ireland that can deliver further value for patients and the state, and Medicines for Ireland can help deliver these changes speedily.”

 

“Ireland is far behind the rest of Europe in terms of take up of generics medicine. The new National Medicines Supply and Pricing Agreement has the potential to help increase that figure to the 80-90% level that exists across other EU member countries. A new agreement can address the significant number of areas that have yet to be reformed and where medicines prices remain higher than necessary and where the opportunity to achieve further savings has been missed.”

 

MFI member companies which include Accord Healthcare; Clonmel Healthcare; Consilient Health; Celltrion; Fannin; Fresenius-Kabi; Nasal Medical; Pinewood; Rowa; Teva and Viatris, contribute significantly to Ireland’s €40 billion annual pharmaceutical industry.

 

For more information about Medicines for Ireland visit: www.medicinesforireland.ie

 

Ends

 

 


Generic Medicines Day

EVENT REGISTRATION: Generic medicines – reducing costs and improving patient access to medicines in Ireland

Medicines for Ireland, the Irish pharmaceutical trade association and the supplier of the majority of medicines in Ireland, is proud to introduce Generic Medicines Day

 

It is well recognised by the HSE and the Department of Health that the increased use of generic medicines has delivered €1.6 billion in savings to the Irish health system since 2013. These savings have been delivered by the members of MFI who supply the majority of medicines to the HSE and to patients directly.

 

The important role of generics is set out in the Programme for Government which has commitments about reducing the cost of medicines, including via generic prescription. This is recognition from the Government that over the last decade, the increased use of generic medicines in Ireland has helped dramatically reduce the cost of everyday health care. These reductions have helped families across the county access a greater range of medicines due to generic competition. While this has resulted in the era of the big brand being dealt a blow, an increased use of generic medicines will help protect public finances and the HSE budget, with the possibility of redirecting savings into other much needed HSE resources.

 

Failure to address the high cost of medicines, with more sustainable generic options, will ensure that funding constraints remain a millstone around the neck of an already overstretched healthcare system. Generic medicines are central to the plans to continue to reduce costs while also improving patient access to medicines in Ireland. In the last 12 months, the average reimbursed price of generic medicines was six times less expensive when compared with non-generic medicines, illustrating the very significant savings that can be availed of at both national and local level.

 

Event:

Medicines for Ireland is delighted to invite members of the public to its first Generic Medicines Day event, a virtual conference with a range of excellent speakers and panellists as part of the inaugural Generic Medicines Day in Ireland. This conference is an opportunity to hear leading national and international experts discuss how generic medicines can contribute to reducing costs and improving patient access to medicines in Ireland. You can register for the event via the link below.

https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/generic-medicines-reducing-costs-and-improving-patient-access-to-medicine-tickets-153510781881

 

https://www.medicinesforireland.ie/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Generic-Medicines-Day-2-June-2021-1.pdf


Filling the Gap: How off patent medicines can improve the equity and quality of cancer care”

We are pleased to publish our new report, ‘Filling the Gap: How off patent medicines can improve the equity and quality of cancer care” which has been produced in conjunction with our sister organisation, Medicines for Europe.

This report outlines a range of important national and European policy recommendations that illustrate the important role of generic, biosimilar and value-added medicines plays in ensuring equitable access to cancer care. This is especially the case in Ireland, where increased competition for resources within the Health Service Executive, means that smarter use of off-patent medicines can improve the equity and quality of cancer care for patients.

Availability of affordable off-patent cancer treatment is one of the greatest assets to efficient cancer care in Europe. They offer an opportunity to deliver on equitable patient access to the pharmaceutical standards of care and to better cancer care pathways. In Ireland, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused delays in cancer care that have been articulated by leading organisations such as the Irish Cancer Society.

We all know that cancer is one of the most burdensome health challenges of our time and while we have made incredible scientific advances in our understanding and treatment of cancer, there are gaps in equity of access to existing treatments. The generic, biosimilar and value-added medicines industries directly and indirectly contribute to tackling uneven access to preventive measures, screening and diagnostics, treatment and life-long care.

An important checklist of key policies that must be implemented to ensure equity and quality of cancer care is achieved has been established by Medicines for Europe. They are:

  • Finding synergies and sharing best practices
  • Comprehensive uptake policies for off-patent medicines
  • EU and national cancer strategies promoting the use of off-patent medicines.
  • Removing barriers after expiry of Intellectual Property (IP)
  • Adapting EU framework to develop value added medicines.

 


Brexit Impact on Imports and Exports of medicines and medical devices in Ireland

Question mark hangs over long term patient access to medicines due to import and export delays hitting the island of Ireland

Keeping an eye on trends impacting medicines supply to Irish families, Medicines for Ireland (MFI), the Irish pharmaceutical trade association and the supplier of the majority of medicine in Ireland to the HSE and patients directly, has published its most recent report, entitled Brexit Impact on Imports and Exports of medicines and medical devices in Ireland”.

According to Medicines for Ireland (MFI) Chairperson, David Delaney;

  • ‘’The good news however is that following continuous consultation with our members we don’t currently anticipate any issues with regard the supply of medicines in Ireland despite experiencing increase in demand.’’
  •  ‘’We are, however, concerned that the temporary nature of some of the current measures employed by the Government need to be addressed, as they are not sustainable moving forward and they threaten to undermine our ability to supply medicines to those who need them the most.” 
  • ‘’Further shocks to the supply chain, such as a new variant of Covid-19, could render the current patchwork Government policy inadequate to support our efforts in this regard.”

The report highlights the direct impact that Brexit has had on the imports and exports of medicines and medical devices in Ireland, with 90% of Medicines for Ireland member companies reporting delays in importing and exporting since January 1. All member companies are experiencing increased pressure on the supply chain, putting patient access to medicines in jeopardy on the island of Ireland, unless all stakeholders organise sustainable solutions quickly.

Speaking about the report, Medicines for Ireland (MFI) Chairperson David Delaney said, “let’s put on record our industry’s thanks for the hard work of officials in the Irish and UK public services leading up to the end of the Transition period. But we need to build on those temporary fixes now to overcome the considerable challenges for Medicines for Ireland (MFI) members who are on the front line of dealing with the impact of new trading routes and procedures and ensuring no impact for patients in relation to access to medicines. Some of the findings of the report speak for themselves and illustrate the direct impact that the new trading systems has had on imports and exports, with 56% of our members having experienced delays of up to 2-3 days, since the start of the year. Another 22% of companies have experienced delays of up to 5 days. Let’s also re-double our work with the logistics sector to ensure they continue to invest to make the new routes and systems work.”

“Nevertheless, our mission statement remains the same, to keep patients and their families front and centre of our efforts, and this report indicates that MFI member companies have reacted by changing distribution routes to ensure the continued supply of medicines (73% of respondents have had to change distribution routes into or out of Ireland since 1st January). This disruption to transport routes and changes from the impact of Covid-19 on business operations have led to increased pressures with 91% of respondents having experienced increased costs associated with importing and exporting.”

“MFI are continuing to work pro-actively with Government and key policy makers on aspects of policy to ensure round the clock continuity of supply in Ireland. We’re also communicating with the Department of Health and the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) as well as the HSE, EU Commission and all relevant EU institutions and officials North and South of the border to ensure a solution focused approach is taken to secure a stable supply of medicines to the Irish market.”

MFI member companies which include Accord Healthcare; Clonmel Healthcare; Consilient Health; Celltrion; Fannin; Fresenius-Kabi; Nasal Medical; Pinewood; Rowa; Teva and Viatris, contribute significantly to Ireland’s €40 billion annual pharmaceutical industry.

 


Generic and biosimilar medicines set to free up €1 billion in HSE resources over the next five years

Medicines for Ireland (MFI), the Irish pharmaceutical trade association and the supplier of the majority of medicines in Ireland, have launched ‘Reductions in the Cost of Medicines’, a report outlining how the Government can achieve a national saving of up to €1 billion over the next five years by switching to generic and biosimilar medicines. To put into context, €200 million of additional saving per annum could be redirected towards additional HSE resources, paying for 6,000 additional nurses or 3,500 extra nursing home beds.

Commenting on the report which was shared with Oireachtas members, Chair of Medicines for Ireland, David Delaney said: “It is well recognised by the HSE and the Department of Health that the increased use of generic medicines has delivered €1.6 billion in savings to the Irish health system since 2013. These savings have been delivered by the members of MFI who supply the majority of medicines to the HSE and to patients directly.

“Covid-19 has placed added pressure on an already over-stretched health system. The policy proposals set out in this report outline the opportunity for Government to free up significant HSE resources by avoiding an annual spend of hundreds of millions of euro on high cost patented medicines. Over the last decade, the increased use of generic medicines in Ireland has helped dramatically reduce the cost of everyday health care. These reductions have helped families across the county access a greater range of medicines due to generic competition. While this has resulted in the era of the big brand being dealt a blow, an increased use of generic and biosimilar medicines will help protect public finances and the HSE budget, with the possibility of redirecting savings into other much needed HSE resources.”

Mr Delaney added: “In the last 12 months the average reimbursed price of generic medicines was six times less expensive when compared with non-generic medicines, illustrating the very significant savings that can be availed of at both national and local level. Significantly, an increase in biosimilar medicines usage will lead to an increase in savings, greater patient access and better security of supply - thereby freeing money up for the funding of frontline services such as hospital beds as well as provide for much needed specialist staff.

“Failure to address the high cost of medicines, with more sustainable generic or biosimilar options, will ensure that funding constraints remain a millstone around the neck of an already overstretched healthcare system. The current penetration rate for biosimilars medicine in Ireland is below 50 per cent while the average across other EU countries is in the range of 80 – 90 per cent, demonstrating the immense opportunity for further savings in this area.

“Medicines for Ireland (MFI) members are at the forefront of national efforts to ensure that patients continue to access medicines despite the multitude of challenges that the Covid-19 pandemic introduced to the global medicine supply chain. This report is a result of a detailed analysis carried out by MFI to support its work and help stakeholders across Ireland optimally modernise public policy to ensure there is a sustainable supply of medicine to patients in Ireland. The result of all this equates to increased patient access to cost effective everyday medicines.”


Appointment of Mairead McGuinness as EU Commissioner a strong signal for Irish medicines and pharmaceutical sector

The appointment of Mairead McGuinness as EU Commissioner-designate for financial services and financial stability by EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is a very welcome development for the hugely important Irish medicines and pharmaceutical sector.

According to David Delaney, Chairperson of Medicines for Ireland, “the appointment of Mairead McGuinness to this hugely important role is very good news for the important medicines and pharmaceutical sector in Ireland. In her previous role as the First Vice-President of the European Parliament she has shown skill and determination in helping to ensure that the interests of Ireland have been protected at EU level. At Medicines for Ireland and through our parent organisation Medicines for Europe, we have engaged constructively with Mairead McGuinness throughout her time as an MEP. What has been remarkable has been her ability to influence policy and resolve very technical issues. Medicines for Ireland has worked with Mairead McGuinness since 2016 on the complex issue of Brexit in the context of ensuring that patients in Ireland are not impacted with the movement of medicines into Ireland. This crucial preparatory work for a ‘no trade deal’ Brexit has proven invaluable to Ireland in the context of the global Covid-19 pandemic.”

Photo via @EU_Commission