Press Release

Minister for Health opens the 73rd FIP International Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences – Announces HSE proposals to reduce the prices of atorvastatins by 70%

The Minister for Health, James Reilly TD, today (Sunday, 1 September) opened the 73rd International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) International Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in the National Convention Centre. It is being jointly hosted by the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland and partners in the pharmacy sector. This year’s theme is “Towards a future vision for complex patients: Integrated care in a dynamic continuum”.

At the Congress, the Minister announced that “under new legislation on reference pricing and generic substitution of drugs and medicines, our health service has notified all suppliers of atorvastatin products of its proposal to set a reference price for these products at 70% below the current price. The intention is that this will be implemented by November with the aim of achieving substantial savings for patients and the taxpayer.”

The Minister went on to say that the aim is to determine the interchangeability of the top 20 most expensive medicines by mid-2014 so that reference prices can be set for them too and so achieve further substantial reductions in Irish medicines prices.

“This is crucial in securing the future sustainability of our health system”, the Minister concluded. “Paying a premium price for medicines is never acceptable, especially in the current financial environment. Reducing pharmaceutical prices is an issue that the Irish Government has been addressing through a series of reforms in recent years and we will continue to address it”.

“Ireland last hosted the Congress in 1975, when the theme was ‘the basis for the quality control of medicines’. The Department of Health hosted a Symposium on ‘how to achieve the responsible use of medicines’ last Friday, building on the 2011 Health Ministers’ Summit in Amsterdam on the benefits of the responsible use of medicines”.

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More information on the FIP Congress is available at www.fip.org/dublin2013/. Information on the Symposium is available here.