Press Release

Varadkar gets Cabinet backing for Ireland to join cross-border medicine purchasing initiative

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar has today secured Cabinet support for Ireland to club together with other EU nations and enter joint negotiations for medicines, in the event of a serious health threat such as an influenza pandemic or SARS.

The Cabinet backed Minister Varadkar’s proposal that Ireland should join the Joint Procurement Agreement for medical countermeasures.

When enacted, this will allow Ireland to work alongside other EU member states in a Joint Procurement arrangement if the EU faces a serious cross-border medical threat. The group or groups of countries will be able to negotiate as a single bloc with companies for medicines, medical equipment or other countermeasures.

A Statutory Instrument will be drafted to allow Minister Varadkar to sign the Joint Procurement Arrangement on behalf of the State.

“This is an important measure which will allow Ireland to join with other nations with the aim of securing a better price for medicines, in the event of a cross-border health threat. By working together, it should be possible for groups of EU nations to drive down the cost of medicines to taxpayers,” Minister Varadkar said.

“In the long run, I hope this can act as a template for future agreements at EU level to cover a broader range of medicines, especially the ‘miracle cures’ for chronic serious conditions,” Minister Varadkar said.