Pharmaceutical influence on Government policy

Several colleagues have alluded to the issue already but I want the Leader to seek clarification from the Minister for Health regarding reports of contacts between high-level members of the pharmaceutical sector and the Government in terms of developing policy on drug prices and what the State is prepared to pay.

By way of information for those Senators who are not aware, although they may have heard some figures, I have been dealing with the drug companies for many years in different ways and I know a fair bit about the sector and how it works. Its Irish exports amount to approximately €40 billion and Ireland spends less than €2 billion per year on drugs. We have such a large manufacturing and export presence because of the 12.5% corporation tax rate, the presence of people who can do the necessary jobs, our membership of the EU, the fact that we speak English and a degree of political stability. It has nothing to do with the size of the domestic market for the sale or purchase of drugs.

Ireland is a very small market. Traditionally, we have had a relatively liberal approval and purchasing regime. It is not the wild west, as someone outrageously described it recently, but a system that is roughly in line with the one that applies in most countries in western Europe that have social democratic-based health systems. It is not in line with the UK’s system, which historically has had the most restrictive access to new drugs and the inferior outcome statistics to go with it.

We are dealing with a difficult situation. The pharma manufacturing and export sector is important to our real economy, we have a critical need to decrease costs in our health service and we need to try to maintain ease of access for patients with cystic fibrosis and cancer to drugs that are otherwise difficult to provide. It will be a challenge all round.

Through the office of the Leader, I wish to bring to the attention of the Minister for Health and the Taoiseach, who apparently became involved in this situation, my belief that there is zero linkage between where companies decide to put their factories and what we decide to spend on drugs. They are separate issues. If an attempt was made to represent the situation in any other way by the pharma sector, the Taoiseach should be warned that it was a bit of a stunt.

Comments
3 Responses to “Pharmaceutical influence on Government policy”
  1. ladyportia27 says:

    . “Its Irish exports amount to approximately €40 billion and Ireland spends less than €2 billion per year on drugs”

    What a sick business, considering Mother Nature gave us all her remedies for free.

    How about the old way- pay when you are well and not when sick- that will give the doctor- real meaning teacher- an incentive to keep his/her oath.

  2. ladyportia27 says:

    “my belief that there is zero linkage between where companies decide to put their factories and what we decide to spend on drugs. They are separate issues. ”

    Then you show your lack of knowledge of the psychopathic system in control in most countries.

    Also all is linked in accordance with Law of the Universe- nothing is separate. Law of One,!

  3. gleefuldave says:

    i agree with the idea advanced by Prof. Crown, namely that big pharma is based here largely for tax reasons and not for the high prices charged to end users of prescription drugs. However, pricing arrangements between big pharma and the State contribute directly to higher wholesale and retail prices for prescription drugs in this country. Politicians contribute directly to this process through their oversight of the Department of Health who handle the discussions on our behalf. Prof. Crown is correct in saying that big pharma is not based here for the high prices charged to consumers, the pity is that our politians have not the backbone to seek a better deal for the people who elect them.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s