THE Government spent €57.5million on three name brand drugs despite cheaper, equally effective alternatives available.

The HSE has forked out the cash this year on complex biologic drugs Enbrel, Lantus and Neupogen.

However, the Irish Sun can reveal just €500,000 was spent on three equally effective biosimilar drugs in the same period that are all 30 per cent cheaper.

The Department of Health paid almost €8million so far this year for 130,579 units of the diabetic insulin pen Lantus.

Abasaglar does the same job but just 234 packets were issued.

The HSE also sprung for 56,262 Enbrel units, for rheumatoid arthritis, but only 54 packets of Benepali were handed out.

And the State forked out for 22,509 packs of white blood cell stimulating drug Neupogen, which is for chemo users. But only five Accofil prescriptions were filled.

The State’s bill for hi-tech meds jumped from €170m in 2005 to more than €590m in 2016.

Health Minister Simon Harris promises a consultation paper on biosimilar drugs. But Medicines for Ireland, which includes eight of the largest med suppliers to the HSE, doubt the policy will bring savings.

Joint chairperson Jeffrey Walsh said: “While we welcomed the Department’s public consultation and commitment to formulate a national policy, we’re increasingly concerned nothing will materialise from this process.”

A Department spokesperson told the Irish Sun its “National Biosimilar Medicines Policy” will “promote the rational use of biosimilar medicines” in Ireland.

Source: https://www.thesun.ie/news/1821289/government-spent-e57-5m-on-three-name-brand-drugs-despite-cheaper-equally-effective-alternatives-available/