Deputy Maureen O' Sullivan challenges An Taoiseach about high drug prices

“There is a more progressive model of research and development that is committed to access and affordability and that is what we need to pursue”

During Leader’s Questions, Deputy Maureen O’ Sullivan made an impassioned speech entitled ‘Big Pharma holding patients to ransom as government stands by…’

Deputy O’ Sullivan argued against the rising costs of lifesaving medicine and made reference to the costs of CAR-T therapy, Orkambi, Spinraza and Pempro.

“The University of Pennsylvania was able to produce a new treatment for cancer, CAR-T, for $15,000. Novartis is producing it at a cost of $475,000.”

The team at Access to Medicines Ireland are thrilled that Deputy O’ Sullivan referenced our call for the Irish government to support the Italian Transparency Resolution.

“I am also asking that, as called for at a recent access to medicines conference, Ireland support the Italian resolution on transparency on this matter at the World Health Assembly in Geneva next week.”

Other calls for government action included, public return on public investment by strengthening the negotiating power of universities and public research units, retaining patent rights to some publicly funded drugs and to create a policy to support the uptake of bio-similars.

To see the full 7 minute video which includes An Taoiseach’s response, please follow the link:

http://maureenosullivan.ie/latest-news/big-pharma-holding-patients-to-ransom-as-government-stands-by/

Drug costs threaten to bankrupt healthcare, says lobby group

Access to Medicines Ireland seeks change in R&D approach of pharmaceutical companies.

“It is clear that, unless addressed, the current system of medicines development will continue to heap financial pressure on strained health systems and put pressure on governments to reimburse medicines at any price,” said Kieran Harkin of Access to Medicines Ireland, a group of medical professionals, patients and concerned members of the public.'“

An article in The Irish Times discussing the goals of Access to Medicines Ireland and promoting our conference on April 16.

Find the full article here: https://www.irishtimes.com/business/health-pharma/drug-costs-threaten-to-bankrupt-healthcare-says-lobby-group-1.3854479

To register for our conference, please follow this link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/access-to-medicines-ireland-3rd-annual-conference-tickets-53879676563

Access to Medicines Ireland speak at Oireachtas Health Committee hearing

Today, Dr. Kieran Harkin, Dr. Ciara Conlon and Robbie Lawlor spoke on behalf of Access to Medicines Ireland in parliament. During a series of committee hearings for the Oireachtas Health Committee National Medicines Strategy, we were invited to discuss proposed reforms to the current model used to incentivise research and development. Every member of parliament present agreed that action needed to be taken. This is a positive step for Ireland in taking action against the extortionate high prices of medicines. We welcome further discussions with the Health Committee and we hope to work together in future to increase access to medicines for all.

To watch this committee hearing, please follow this link: https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/oireachtas-tv/video-archive/committees/2393

Access to Medicines Ireland 3rd Annual Conference

After the big successes of our two previous conferences, we are back again with a range of new expertise from Ireland and abroad. Registration is mandatory, so please find a link to the Eventbrite page and register here.

This conference will explore proposals to reform the current medicines innovation model in order to develops drugs with public health and accessibility as the priority.

Conference Speakers

Professor Michael Barry, Clinical Director of the National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics

Mr James Love, Director, Knowledge Ecology International

Mr Diarmaid McDonald, Just Treatment UK

Mr Bas Leerink, Chairperson of Committee which prepared the report of the Dutch Health Council, Development of New Medicines: Better, Faster Cheaper

Ms Kay English Curtin, Patient Expert

Ms Michele Tait, Manager, National Hepatitis C Treatment Programme 2014-2018

Conference Moderator

Susan Mitchell, Deputy Editor of The Sunday Business Post

Policy Document Launch in Dáil Éireann

We are delighted with the reception we got in parliament today for the launch of our policy document, Access to Medicines: A High Price to Pay. A big thank you to Michael Harty TD, Chairman of Oireachtas Health Committee for hosting us and for the engagement of many TDs on the health committee and those with an interest in fighting for health equity. We look forward to working with each other in the future to address the issue of high drug prices in Ireland and abroad.

European Access to Medicines Manifesto

The looming European elections provide an important opportunity for EU citizens to ensure that the EU is serious about the health and well being of its citizens. This manifesto outlines key asks that will help put citizens at the centre of policy-making in this area and ensure that Access to Medicines is prioritised on the agenda of the next European Parliament and the new European Commission:

Find the EU Manifesto HERE

Access to Medicines responds to IPHA’s concerns that Irish patients aren’t getting access to medicines quickly enough. We agree!

The Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (IPHA) wrote an article about how “Irish patients are not getting access to medicines quickly enough”.

We agree, they aren’t. But this is due to monopolies, high drug prices and failing to meet cost effectiveness criteria. Read our response here:

http://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/letters/access-to-medicines-1.3626930%3Fmode%3Damp …

IPHA original article: https://www.irishtimes.com/business/health-pharma/irish-patients-denied-access-to-drugs-made-in-ireland-1.3623529

The Irish Times view on drug prices: Big Pharma’s hostages

An editorial from The Irish Times on high drug prices. An important step in recognising the issues we face due to the current intellectual property incentivisation model. 

"Rising prices of new medicines are having a profound impact globally and are now exceeding the capacity of even the wealthiest of countries to pay, a recent Dublin conference on drug prices heard."

Ellen t' Hoen, a leading IP expert at our Access to Medicines Conference told the Irish Times that Pharma frequently holds governments in a "hostage situation" by using fear tactics to discourage opposition to high drug prices. 

We welcome the Editor's position on opening dialogue for the exploration of alternative drug pricing models.

"Yet the presence of so many drug manufacturers in Ireland means we are in a unique position to open a dialogue with industry to explore alternative models for the pricing of medicines."

Full article here: https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/editorial/the-irish-times-view-on-drug-prices-big-pharma-s-hostages-1.3486076