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A review process of the centre, carried out by external consultants, recommended that nine new posts were required to meet existing demand.
At a HSE Drugs Group meeting in June last year, it was heard that the capacity deficit needed to be addressed, as “a single mistake in the NCPE could put the entire process in jeopardy”. At the meeting, HSE Director General Mr Tony O’Brien noted the assessment process was of “strategic importance and that Ministers were aware of same”.
The workload of the NCPE has grown “exponentially over the last number of years”, the meeting minutes state.
It was noted that due to the processes in place, the HSE is achieving up to 50 per cent discounts in negotiations, compared to the prices originally put forward by companies.
NCPE Clinical Director Prof Michael Barry said advertisements for some of the posts are to be issued shortly after funding is approved for 2018.
“At the moment, we are drawing-up job descriptions for the posts and hope to advertise for some posts in the next month or so,” Prof Barry said.
Prof Michael Barry, Clinical Director, NCPE
“There has been a huge increase in the number of medication assessments in recent years. In 2012, there were about 20-to-25 assessments and now there are up to 80.”
Prof Barry added that savings of between 30-to-50 per cent were being achieved following price negotiations.
“In 2016, if we said ‘yes’ to the first price put forward, the budget impact would have been €1 billion over five years,” he said.