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In October 2012, the State entered into a three-year medicines pricing and supply agreement with the IPHA, which the Department of Health said has delivered over €400 million of savings over the lifetime of the agreement.
It had been thought that negotiations on a new agreement would commence last September, but while informal contact has taken place between the parties, formal talks have still not commenced. It is understood the delay is on the side of the Government. The political instability created by the General Election results has raised fears of further delays.
In response to queries from the Medical Independent (MI) about the delay, a spokesperson for the Department said: “Officials in the Department of Health are working with their colleagues in the HSE, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, and the Office of Government Procurement to ensure that the State achieves the best possible deal in terms of future price reductions on the cost of medicines. Informal discussions have commenced and formal negotiations are due to commence in the near future.”
The spokesperson added the Department of Health and the HSE will not be disclosing their position on any aspect of the issues to be discussed other than in the negotiations themselves. The terms of the 2012 agreement have continued to be observed, pending negotiations on a new agreement, the spokesperson confirmed.
The IPHA told MI that it expects formal talks on a new agreement to commence shortly.