The Department of Health is currently in negotiations with the Association of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers of Ireland (APMI) to deliver price reductions on generic medications to the tune of about €10 million in a full year, Irish Medical Times reports.
New measures aimed at achieving further reductions in pharmaceutical expenditure envisage the establishment of an appropriate team with a project leader, within the Department of Health or the HSE — including the employment of additional pharmacists.
They include working with prescribers (both GPs and hospital consultants) to achieve more cost-effective prescribing, rolling out a ‘preferred medicine programme’ (identifying designated medicines, the preferential use of which over similar medicines would promote clinically-appropriate utilisation of pharmaceuticals in a cost-effective manner without compromising quality of care).
As part of the measures, certain products under the community drug schemes would be de-listed and/or have conditions imposed upon them. For example, glucosamine has been identified both nationally and internationally as “not being cost-effective”, the Department of Health said.
A recent study, claiming to be one of the largest and longest trials of the supplement, concluded that it neither alleviates pain nor disability and that “glucosamine probably offers little benefit… beyond whatever placebo effect it may provide”. De-listing glucosamine would save €5 million annually.