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Delays in drug approvals mean Irish heart and cancer patients lose out on new treatment

A new report from the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (IPHA) says that Irish patients are among the last in Europe to get access to new medicines, meaning they could be missing out on new heart and cancer drugs. IPHA is the representative body for the pharmaceutical industry and it says that the approval process for new medicines in Ireland is “frustratingly slow”. IPHA claims that some new drugs – including seven cancer drugs, two cardiovascular drugs and one musculoskeletal treatment – are still pending approval here despite the fact that the very same drugs are available for use in 12 European countries.

Director of Communications, Bernard Mallee, says the lack of certainty over funding is the biggest problem.

“There’s isn’t a predictability around the funding envelope that’s available for innovative medicines. And while the industry is delivering huge savings, we are not seeing those savings invested back into the availability of medicines for Irish patients. This is causing some uncertainty in terms of when we can get access to those medicines and what the outcomes for patients might be.” Mallee added, “That medicines for cancer and heart disease, Ireland’s two biggest killer diseases, feature so prominently in the list is very concerning,” he added.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health said it was “not in a position to comment on claims and assertions made by the representative body for the pharmaceutical industry” without having seen their data.

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