Wednesday, 4th February 2015
- HSE extends access to Eculizumab (Soliris)
- Exorbitant costs of new drugs and how much is paid by the State must be examined
The decision of the HSE to extend access to Eculizumab to people diagnosed with PNH and aHUS will come as a relief. There have been protracted efforts by patients, their representatives and public representatives to get the HSE to make this decision. I would like to thank the HSE for taking this decision which will make a huge difference to the day to day lives of people with these rare diseases.
Everyone’s efforts to bring about this decision again bring into focus the issue of the cost of medicines. Eculizumab costs €430,000 per patient per year and efforts to get the manufacture to reduce its price were unsuccessful. We need to examine closely how our drug purchasing model work and what can be done to reduce the costs to taxpayers. Doing this can have two effects, it can save money and it can allow resources to diverted to other areas of the health service.
Over the next few months the Health Committee will be examining these broader policy issues. I hope that this will allow us to ask why drug companies can in effect hold the HSE and Department of Health to ransom.