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Over half of new drugs budget already committed

Some €30 million of the €50 million allocated by the HSE for new drugs this year had already been committed by the end of March, this newspaper has been told. The issue was raised at the March meeting of the HSE drugs group, where it was noted that the Executive’s National Service Plan (NSP) 2021 made a provision of €50 million for new drugs in 2021.

“Nineteen applications have now been supported by the HSE executive management team (EMT) from this allocation,” read the minutes from the meeting.

“These applications have an estimated additional cost to the HSE of €30 million in 2021 and an estimated five-year cost amounting to €260 million.”

A HSE spokesperson told the Medical Independent that €30 million of the 2021 new drugs budget had been committed by March, “as was expected when the provision was made.”

The HSE did not provide a figure for new drug applications supported by the EMT since March, noting that “applications are processed each month on an ongoing basis and new medicines tend to be approved and progressed each month”. The HSE considers the five-year costs of new medicines as part of its decision-making processes.

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