Compassionate Approach Required from Authorities on Versatis

15 February 2018: The Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) has welcomed the Minister for Health’s intervention in the ongoing controversy regarding access to the pain-relieving medicine Versatis patches, when he said that he has directed the HSE to take a compassionate approach towards people suffering chronic pain who no longer have access to Versatis.  The representative group for community pharmacists said that while it appreciates and supports the need for appropriate budget management and rational prescribing, it strongly believes that patient welfare must always come first. The IPU has had numerous calls from pharmacists distraught at having been put in the position of having to explain to patients suffering from often crippling pain that they can no longer access their medicine, Versatis, on the HSE Schemes.

Speaking today, IPU Secretary General Darragh O’Loughlin said, “We are concerned that the restriction of a medicine that has brought great relief to so many patients seems to be based solely on the back of a desk-based exercise, with little regard for the input of patients and clinicians. In any decision regarding reimbursement of a medicinal product, such as Versatis patches, the experiences of individual patients suffering from chronic pain, and the integrity and expertise of the clinicians caring for them, must also be taken into account.

“What is required is a sensible approach and the introduction of streamlined procedures to ensure that patients who need this medicine can access it without further barriers being put in their way.  The hundreds of patients who have spoken out about their suffering and the impact on their lives as a result of the HSE restricting this treatment must be heard and treated in a compassionate way,” he concluded.


Further information: Jim Curran, Director of Communications & Strategy, IPU, Ph: 086 2640 469