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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