Monday, 15 October 2012 08:34
- Concern at impact of short lead-in time on pharmacy stocks.
- Expanding the role of pharmacists can lead to further cost savings and increased benefits to patients.
The Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU), the representative body for 1,800 community pharmacists, has welcomed the announcement of an agreement between the pharmaceutical manufacturers and the Government to reduce the price of medicines, saying that it is good news for patients. However, the IPU expressed concern at the short lead-in time, which will mean that pharmacists with existing stocks will be financially hit.
According to IPU President Rory O' Donnell, "This is a good deal for patients and a good deal for the State, who will save €400millon over the next three years, of which pharmacists will make a significant contribution. I am concerned at the short notice of the introduction of the changes, which are set to be implemented from 1 November 2012. This means that the medicines, which pharmacists stock on their shelves for patients on behalf of the HSE, will now be paid for by the HSE at the new lower rates, despite having been purchased by pharmacists at the higher prices which were previously agreed between the HSE and the drug companies".
In relation to expanding the role of the pharmacist, Mr O' Donnell said, "The objective of any review of expenditure on medicines must be to ensure better health outcomes for patients and to maximise value for money. Irish pharmacists would like the Minister for Health to engage with them on his healthcare reform agenda as they are well placed to provide additional services to patients, including chronic disease management, health screening, treating minor ailments and medicine use reviews, which can deliver significant healthcare benefits to patients and further costs savings to the State".