medicines for Ireland



Medicine suppliers call for action to mitigate against risks of shortages

Medicines for Ireland (MFI) are highlighting the role of inflation, rising energy and transport costs, and persistent global supply chain disruptions which have combined to create a real and serious risk of medicine shortages in the year ahead.

The critical issue of medicine shortages has received significant public and political
attention in Ireland and across the EU. The concern surrounding the possible
shortages of medicines in Ireland is caused by growing and multifaceted
challenges and there is no basis to assume this matter is temporary or will
resolve autonomously.

The Medicines for Ireland Pre-Budget Submission 2024 sets out recommendations to tackle and
prevent any potential shortages. These include the development of a flexible
Pricing Mechanism to safeguard against the risk of medicine shortages; exploring the possibility of the establishment of a National Medicines Reserve; and effective preparatory measure to facilitate
implementation of the EU Pharmaceutical Package.

Commenting on MFI’s Pre-Budget Submission, Chairperson Padraic O’Brien said, “Our primary
objective at MFI continues to be centred on assisting Government to maintain
sustainable market conditions, thus safeguarding continued access to
cost-effective treatments for patients in Ireland.”

“The volume of generic medicines used in Ireland has increased by 70% since 2012,
accounting for 57 per cent of all prescribed medicines compared with just 33
per cent 10 years ago. The increased use of generic medicines has yielded
hundreds of millions in savings for the state however, Ireland remains far
short of the European average for generic usage, which is 70 per cent.”

Furthermore, he added, “As a small market Ireland is more likely to be badly impacted by
inflationary pressure and as costs continue to rise, market conditions will
become increasingly unviable for companies supplying generic medicines to Irish
hospitals and pharmacies. Additionally, in some cases, our reimbursement prices
for certain medicines are too low compared to other EU countries and price
adjustments in Ireland are historically downward only. This adds to
unsustainable market conditions for suppliers”.

A recent MFI member survey found that all member companies expect to see increases in the
cost of manufacturing and procurement in the next 12 months with 90% stating
that they think potential medicines shortages will have a negative impact on
patient health in Ireland.

Expanding further on the pre-budget submission, Mr O’Brien explained “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 MFI
can help deliver these changes quickly. Failing 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 in Ireland.”

“We are at the halfway stage of the current framework agreement on the supply and pricing
of medicines. As a solution focused organisation, we look forward to
transformative engagement with the HSE and the Government on the next agreement
in order to satisfy the needs of patients, Government and industry.”


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