Medicines for Ireland is urging the Government to heed recent warnings about the growing risk of shortages

Suppliers of most medicines in Ireland have urged the government to heed recent warnings from GPs and pharmacists across the country about the growing risk of medicine shortages.

Supplying HSEs and patients directly, members of edicines for Ireland (MFI) have cited rising inflation, energy, transport costs and global supply chain disruptions as the reason for the shortages.

Chairman Padraic O’Brien said these disruptions had contributed to “thousands of generic medicines disappearing from the European and Irish markets”.

“MFI members stand ready to work directly with the government to address this serious problem and prevent potential drug shortages,” he said.

“Our aim is to provide industry insight and expand our expertise to improve the development of medicines pricing and procurement policy in Ireland and ensure the supply of medicines to Ireland.”

There are currently 187 drug shortages in Ireland, according to the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) website.

MFI said this situation could “deteriorate significantly” without intervention.

Mr O’Brien said that as a small market, Ireland will tend to be hit hard by inflationary pressures.

“As costs continue to rise, market conditions are becoming increasingly unprofitable for companies supplying generic medicines to Irish hospitals and pharmacies,” he said.

“In addition, our reimbursement prices for certain medicines are sometimes too low compared to other EU countries.

“Price adjustments in Ireland have historically only been downwards, while other European countries use flexible pricing mechanisms that allow reimbursement prices for scarce medicines to be increased.

“Ireland does not have such a mechanism and is therefore further disadvantaged.”

A recent MFI member survey found that 91 per cent of MFI members had increased costs related to importing and/or manufacturing pharmaceutical and medical products for the Irish market in 2022.

All MFI member companies expect transportation costs to increase over the next 12 to 24 months.

Mr O’Brien added: “Our primary focus is to support the Government in ensuring that market conditions in Ireland remain sustainable to maintain and secure access to reliable and affordable treatment for Irish patients.

“We believe it is time for us to review our work with the Government and the HSE on the framework agreement on supply and pricing and develop improvements to mitigate supply risks.” Medicines for Ireland is urging the Government to heed recent warnings about the growing risk of shortages

Fry Electronics Team

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