The Minister will now issue a Letter of Intent to his counterparts in those four countries formally signalling Ireland’s interest in joining the existing collaboration, known as the BeNeLuxA Initiative, on drug pricing and supply.
<br />Minister Harris said: “I’m delighted that Cabinet has given formal approval for Ireland to open these negotiations and I look forward to working with these countries to explore opportunities to secure affordable access to new medicines for Irish patients, through information sharing and policy exchange. In fact I will be travelling to Belgium and the Netherlands in the coming weeks and hope to begin discussions with my Ministerial counterparts in both countries.
<br />“Securing access to new and innovative medicines, in a manner that’s affordable and sustainable, is one of my key objectives. This is a challenge that is not unique to Ireland and many countries are battling with the same issues. That is why over the past two years my Department has been engaging with other European countries in an effort to identify solutions to medicines pricing, sustainability and supply.
<br />“At ministerial and official level, Ireland has been participating in a number of voluntary European forums. I believe that this collaborative agenda will continue to develop. The BeNeLuxA collaboration is well established and is a concrete step forward. It will allow Ireland to explore opportunities, in an increasingly challenging environment of high pricing of medicines by pharmaceutical companies, to secure sustainable and affordable access for patients to new and innovative medicines.”