Minister of state of the department of health Jim Daly discussed the policy – which is still in development – and its potential impact on the cost effectiveness of Ireland’s medicines bill at the Biopharma Ambition Conference in Dublin last month.
“The government of Ireland is currently developing a national biosimilar medicines policy, to promote the rational use of biosimilar medicines and to create a sustainable environment for the use of biological medicines in Ireland,” he told delegates.
“The policy will aim to increase biosimilar use in Ireland by creating a robust framework, in which biologics and biosimilars can be safely, cost effectively and confidently used in the Irish health service,” he added.
The National Biosimilar Medicines policy follows on from Ireland’s Framework Agreement on the Supply and Pricing of Medicines, signed by the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (IPHA) and the country’s Health Service Executive (HSE) in 2016.
“This [framework] agreement has allowed the state to achieve greater value for money without compromising continuity and security of supply,” said Daly.
Further, the agreement helped release much needed resources for new therapies, and encouraged innovation in the pharmaceutical industry, he told delegates.
A call for access
In November last year, Ireland’s minister for health Simon Harris proposed a dialogue between the pharmaceutical industry and state with the aim of improving access to medicines.
Daly – who was stepping in for Harris at Biopharma Ambition – said an open, transparent system could enable greater access.
“I believe that by working together, we can create a fairer system that allows industry to set their medications for a farer price, and patients can receive the treatments they deserve.”