Buttimer calls for regulatory change to help treat anaphylaxis

Thursday, 9th October 2014

Speaking at FAAM Conference, 9 October 2014, Convention Centre Dublin

Speaking at FAAM Conference, 9 October 2014, Convention Centre Dublin

Speaking at the opening of the International Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Meeting at Convention Centre Dublin I called for a detailed national policy on anaphylaxis and for a review of regulations which control access to treatment in emergency situations.

Severe allergic reactions can have devastating consequences and immediate access to medication can be a lifesaving intervention. Each year around 2% of the population experience anaphylaxis and require different levels of treatment. To make sure all people affected receive the appropriate access to care we should develop a detailed policy to deal with anaphylaxis. We should also review regulations so that improved access to medication is available in emergency situations.

Data from Ireland’s first birth cohort study demonstrated that 3% of one year olds have proven food allergies. Estimates indicate that about 20,000 of Irish children have a peanut allergy. Given this rate of incidence and the potential drastic consequences, there should be a detailed policy in place to deal with this issue. I have asked the newly appointed Minster for Health, Leo Varadkar, and the Health Service Executive, to prioritise the development of strategy for allergy care in Ireland.

As well as developing a comprehensive policy approach we should also change how we provide access to adrenaline auto-injectors in emergency situations. UCC is leading efforts to develop a first-responder anaphylaxis model but regulations are preventing the roll-out of this scheme.

The Department of Health has said it will review the regulations that provide only limited access to adrenaline auto-injectors in emergency situations. However, despite efforts to have this progressed I do not believe it has been given the priority that it warrants. I have asked the Minister and the new Secretary General to ensure that this review takes place as soon as possible.

By changing the regulations we can provide a first-responder system for the treatment of anaphylaxis in emergency situations. This along with a comprehensive policy for anaphylaxis can improve the level of service and treatment provided to all those affected.

Posted under Health, National Work

Parliamentary Question: Fampyra and Treatment of MS

Parliamentary Question to the Minister of State at the Department of Health (Ms Kathleen Lynch, TD)

To ask the Minister for Health if he will provide an update on the availability of fampyra; if a new application in respect of the drug has been submitted to the National Centre for Pharmaco-economics; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Jerry Buttimer TD.

For WRITTEN ANSWER on 25/09/2014


The Health Service Executive (HSE) has statutory responsibility for decisions on pricing and reimbursement of medicinal products under the community drug schemes in accordance with the provisions of the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013.

The HSE received an application for the inclusion of Fampridine in the GMS and community drugs schemes. The application was considered in line with the procedures and timescales agreed by the Department of Health and the HSE with the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association  for the assessment of new medicines. In accordance with these procedures, the National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics (NCPE) conducted a pharmacoeconomic evaluation of Fampridine and concluded that, as the manufacturer was unable to demonstrate the cost effectiveness of Fampridine in the Irish healthcare setting, it was unable to recommend the reimbursement of the product. The report is available on the NCPE’s website (www.ncpe.ie).

The HSE assessment process is intended to arrive at a decision on the funding of new medicines that is clinically appropriate, fair, consistent and sustainable. Due to the very difficult and challenging economic environment in which the Government targeted additional savings in health expenditure of €619 million in 2014, which must be achieved while protecting front line services to the most vulnerable to the greatest extent possible, the HSE decided it was not in a position to add the drug to the List of Reimbursable Items supplied under the GMS and other community drug schemes.

It is open to the supplier, at any time, to submit a new application to the HSE incorporating new evidence which demonstrates the cost effectiveness of Fampridine. Biogen Idec’s Irish management indicated to the HSE in November 2013 that it intended to re-submit an application in April 2014. The HSE has advised it received a revised application from Biogen Idec on Friday 25th July. This application is currently being assessed in line with the agreed procedures and timescales. No further comment is possible at this time as the HSE decision making process is ongoing.

Posted under Health, National Work, Parliamentary Questions

Buttimer congratulates new chairperson of National Disability Authority

Tuesday, 17th September 2014

  • Ms Helen Guinan appointed chairperson-designate of the National Disability Authority. 

Jerry Buttimer TD with Helen Guinan - Chairperson National Disability AuthorityHelen Guinan is a person of exceptional ability and integrity, she has vast experience in the area of disability policy and will make an excellent chairperson of the National Disability Authority.  Ms Guinan’s experience, as a principal of a large school for people with disabilities and at a policy level make her an ideal candidate for this position.

At a national level Ms Guinan has been involved in policy development and with a number of organisations, including the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, the National Council for Special Education and the National Federation of Voluntary Bodies.  Having both practical and policy experience Ms Guinan will be of great assistance to the National Disability Authority in advising Government and public bodies about the policy issues that affect people with disabilities.

I have known Ms Guinan for many years, both when she was principal of St Paul’s Special School in Cork and also through her involvement with the COPE Foundation.  She has always been a great advocate for people with disabilities and I am sure that she will continue to be a strong advocate in her new role.

I would like to congratulate Ms Guinan on her appearance before the Oireachtas Justice Committee today and wish her every success in her new role as chairperson of the National Disability Authority.

Posted under Cork, Health, Justice & Equality, National Work