The document uniting Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Green Party in Government has come under fire for its lack of provisions relating to medicines funding.
The document, Programme for Government – Our Shared Future, is extensive and gives detail on every policy area. Implementing Sláintecare is a priority for the new coalition as part of a drive towards universal health care. The Programme states:
“Many of the healthcare responses to COVID-19 are important elements of Sláintecare, and we will identify how to keep the gains. Underpinning our approach will be the provision of more health services in the community, increases in capacity, including bed, ICU and critical care capacity, and the promotion of good public health policy. Our approach will be patient centred.”
However, the Irish Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association (IPHA) has sharply criticised the Programme. It says:
“The ‘Programme for Government – Our Shared Future’, published today [Monday], is welcome in many respects but it leaves unresolved the funding crisis for new medicines, according to the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (IPHA), which represents the international research-based biopharmaceutical industry.
“For almost a year, there has been a deliberate decision from Government to provide no new funding to the HSE for new medicines. The HSE has asked and was refused. This has created a backlog of at least 18 new medicines still unavailable for patients, despite having met Irish clinical effectiveness and value for money tests.”
A spokesperson said that funding for new medicines is “in crisis”. The IPHA says it has offered to contribute to the funding of new medicines in order to get them to patients sooner, and it hopes to discuss this with the Government when a new budget is prepared.