medicines for Ireland



Medicines for Ireland calls for urgent action to address the escalating issue of medicine shortages impacting Irish patients.

With 1 in 5 individuals personally affected by medicines shortages in the last two years, Medicines for Ireland calls on the Department of Health and Health Service Executive to implement solutions that will positively impact patient care.

Medicines for Ireland (MFI), the leading representative body for the generic, biosimilar, and value-added medicines industry, is highlighting the urgent need for action to address the increasing medicine shortages affecting the Irish population.

A recent Red C survey reveals a concerning trend: 1 in 5 (20%) of individuals have been personally affected by medicine shortages in the past two years. Additionally, 22% report that family members or friends have been impacted totalling 38% of the population either directly or indirectly experiencing the consequences of these shortages.

Commenting on the Red C survey results, Chair of Medicines for Ireland Paul Neill said, “The growing scarcity of essential medicines is more than an inconvenience; it’s a barrier to health and well-being. With 38% of those surveyed expressing that shortages have impacted them or someone close to them, it is a clear and urgent signal that our healthcare system faces a crisis that requires immediate action.”

The impact is felt across various medical treatments, with pain relief medication shortages affecting nearly 2 in 5 (37%) of those impacted. Other areas, such as respiratory, gastroenterology, and rheumatology treatments, also face significant challenges.

Medicines for Ireland, a solutions-focused organisation, is proposing a multifaceted approach to address these shortages:

  • Implement dynamic pricing policies that encourage competition.
  • Policies that incentivise the use of generic medicines, ensuring access to affordable, high-quality, and essential medications.
  • Evolve the best-value biologics (BVB) process to ensure the sustainability of best-value medicines and best-value biologics.
  • Create a streamlined regulatory and reimbursement pathway for value-added medicines, allowing for medicine repurposing and aligning Ireland with other leading European nations.

Mr Neill emphasises, “There is no single simple solution to addressing the challenges leading to medicine shortages, but we have detailed the solutions that MFI and our members believe can address these challenges in our five-year vision, Looking forward: Building the framework for a sustainable generic, biosimilar and value-added medicines industry in Ireland. By adopting these solutions, we can mitigate the impact of shortages and ensure a robust supply of medicines for all who need them.

“By encouraging the use of generic, biosimilar and value added medicines, we can alleviate the strain on our healthcare system. It’s not just about cost savings; it’s about ensuring that every patient has access to the medicines they need when they need them. Establishing a sustainable pathway for biosimilar medicines and a streamlined regulatory process for value-added medicines are critical steps towards a more resilient healthcare system.”

Vice Chair of Medicines for Ireland Deirdre Kelly commented, “Patients are often left waiting, revisiting pharmacies, or accepting alternatives. This is not the standard of care we strive for in Ireland. This data shows that nearly half (49%) of the population recognises the worsening of this issue over the past two years.”

Ms Kelly concludes, “3 in 4 (75%) people surveyed believe that resolving these shortages should be a government priority, and so do we. Now is the time to implement dynamic policies that address the current shortages impacting Irish patients and mitigate against future shortages. Medicines for Ireland is committed to working with the Government and healthcare providers to implement these solutions. Together, we can ensure that the people of Ireland have continuous access to the essential medicines they depend on.”

The Future Security of Supply is a key theme of the upcoming Medicines for Europe Annual Conference, which will take place on the 12th and 13th of June at the Portmarnock Hotel & Golf Links, Dublin. Industry leaders, healthcare stakeholders, academics, and policymakers will gather to advocate for improved access to medicines. Other key themes that will be discussed include exploring the impact of new EU pharmaceutical legislation, identifying opportunities for innovation in value-added medicines, discussing transformative changes in the EU market for medicines, and addressing challenges and opportunities for investment in manufacturing and supply chains.

MFI member companies include Accord Healthcare, Celltrion Healthcare, Clonmel Healthcare, Consilient Health, Fannin, Fresenius Kabi, Pinewood Healthcare, Sandoz trading as Rowex, Teva, and Viatris.

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