HSE runs out of money needed to provide new medicines to patients - (The Irish Times via NewsPoints Desk)

  • The Irish Times reported that the Department of Health confirmed that it the Health Service Executive (HSE) cannot fund four medicines from within its resources.

  • Under rules introduced in 2013, in circumstances where the HSE says it cannot fund a new drug, the Department can bring a memorandum to Government requesting additional funding for it.

  • So far, only one memo has been brought forward, for the cystic fibrosis drugs Orkambi and Kalydeco, while the Department is considering three other medicines for approval.

  • One drug is Novartis' heart failure treatment Entresto, another is Roche's Erivedge, which is used to treat adults with advanced basal cell carcinoma, with the third being Lundbeck's antidepressant Brintellix.

  • Entresto, a heart failure drug made by Novartis, has been approved by the National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics on cost effectiveness grounds and by the HSE drugs group but is still awaiting a decision, over 500 days after a pricing application was made.

  • An HSE spokeswoman said "while the HSE strives to reach a decision regarding drug approval in as timely a manner as possible, because of the significant monies involved, there is an onus to ensure that the best price is achieved as these commitments often feature multi-million euro investments on an ongoing basis."

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