Press Release

Securing access to innovative drugs treatments in a cost effective and affordable manner is Ireland’s priority 

The Minister for Health, Simon Harris, TD will tomorrow Tuesday 9th May 2017 represent Ireland at the Third Roundtable Meeting for European Health Ministers, CEO’s and Heads of Europe-based pharmaceutical companies and patient groups taking place in Malta. The meeting is being hosted by Malta as part of their Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU).

Speaking in advance of the meeting, the Minister said: “Since coming into office I have seen the challenges our health service and more importantly patients have experienced in accessing new medicines. Ireland is not alone in this and many countries across Europe face similar issues. I am strongly in favour of EU countries working together to find solutions to this problem. A sustainable pharmaceutical system in Europe is one where patients can secure access to new and innovative treatments at an affordable price. Innovative medicines play a key role in improving the health of our population. A situation must not be allowed to develop where innovative products never reach the patients as health systems cannot afford the price being sought. The Roundtable meeting in Malta this week is an excellent opportunity to acknowledge these challenges but more importantly to identify solutions.

Potential solutions from Ireland’s perspective include increased collaboration between member states; greater transparency on real prices, research costs and access programmes; outcomes-based models where the health system only pays for treatments when they deliver the desired benefits to patients; and also greater competition in the off-patent space.

I look forward to hearing the views of Health Ministers from other member states and also to hear the solutions that industry puts forward tomorrow. I am hopeful that this forum can play a role in achieving the overall objective of securing access to innovative treatment in a cost-effective and affordable manner.”

The Minister will also use the opportunity in Malta to promote Dublin’s bid for the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and a number of bilateral meetings with his counterparts in other Member States have been organised.