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Medicine shortages: DOH says ‘continuity of treatment can be assured through the use of alternative products’

By Irish Pharmacist - 02nd Jul 2023

shortages

The Department of Health has said it would like to assure members of the public concerned by medicines shortages that there are numerous alternatives available to ensure continuity of care.

With respect to the various commonly- used medications listed in recent press coverage that have been notified to the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA), where a patient has any disruption to their routine branded supply, continuity of treatment can be assured through the use of alternative products, said the Department.
Individual brands or strengths of a medication may be temporarily unavailable, but for the vast majority of medicines there are appropriate substitutions, such as different strengths, brands or similar classes of medicines, said a DoH spokesperson.

The Medicines Shortages Framework, operated by the HPRA on behalf of the Department of Health, aims to prevent, where possible, and mitigate the impact of medicines shortages through close collaboration with the Department, the Health Service Executive (HSE), industry and healthcare professionals, it said.

The HSE said it “takes continuity of supply into account when making decisions in relation to pricing, with the listed price of new medicines set at the average price paid by 14 European states. Suppliers who find that it is uneconomic to continue supplying a medicine under current Framework Agreements can apply to the HSE for a price increase. Currently, 36 medicines are the subject of a price increase application, less than 0.01% of all reimbursed items.”

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