Scheme called reference pricing and generic substitution for all prescription drugs

To ask the Minister for Health and Children the response that she will issue to persons regarding her plans and those of the Health Service Executive to introduce a scheme called reference pricing and generic substitution for all prescription drugs here, including osteoporosis; if she will reconsider her initial plans and agree to firstly consult osteoporosis specialists. – Dan Neville T.D.

REPLY.

The Government has decided to introduce a system of reference pricing combined with generic substitution of medicines. This will promote price competition and deliver ongoing savings for both the State and for patients.

In June, I launched a report, prepared by a joint working group made up of officials and healthcare professionals from my Department and the HSE, which sets out a proposed model for the operation of generic substitution and reference pricing in Ireland. The working group consulted with a wide range of stakeholders as part of its work. Decisions about the interchangeability of medicines will be evidence-based and take into account best practice elsewhere. I expect to see significant progress on the implementation of this initiative, including the identification of legislative and administrative changes required to give it effect in 2011.