HSE waiting over two years for new medicines to be approved

Lorna Lawless

Ten mecidines have been on the waiting list for two years already.

 Ten new medicines approved by the HSE have been waiting to be approved for over two years.

These medicines had been blocked on the basis of price following an investigation by the National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics in Ireland.

They are in a group of 15 new medicines that are reported to have used up almost the entire new drugs budget for 2019 only three months into the year.

The Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association which represents companies investing in the research and development of new drugs have concerns about the length of time is takes for medicine to get approved.

IPHA chief executive welcomed the new medications but emphasised the concern in time scale for approval: “it’s clear that the approvals system for new medicines doesn’t work and funding is neither predictable nor adequate”, according to The Irish Times.

The drugs approved in this group include two leukaemia drugs- Amgen’s Blincyto and Pfizer, Besponsa, a drug for aggressive skin cancer called Bavencio and a drug called Translarna used to treat victims with Duchene’s muscular dystrophy, which helps them continue walking.

All these drugs which were approved were developed by major pharmaceutical companies such as Johnston & Johnson’s Actellion business, AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Amgen.

Three drugs were not sanctioned by the HSE in this approval system. These include Spinraza which is the only drug currently available to treat spinal muscular atrophy, Tagrisso which has been in the system 36 months, according to The Irish Times.

According to O’Connor, the deal made with the government to regulate prices on the public is saving money.

“That deal has delivered hundreds of millions in savings. But there has been no improvement in speed of access for medicines”.

Lorna Lawless

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