Ireland passes reference pricing, pro-generics law
Legislation to enable the introduction of reference pricing and pro-generic initiatives has now been passed by both houses of Ireland's parliament (Oireachtas) and is expected to take effect next month.
"To further enhance patient safety, the bill allows a prescriber to indicate on a prescription that a branded interchangeable medicinal product should, for clinical reasons, not be substituted," he added.
The Bill also introduces a reference pricing system which will establish the prices that the Health Service Executive (HSE) will pay for products supplied to patients under the General Medical Services (GMS) and community drug schemes. If patients wish to receive a brand that costs more than the reference price, they will have to pay the additional cost out-of-pocket, but in cases where substitution is prohibited for clinical reasons, patients will not pay any additional costs if the prescribed product costs more than the reference price.
Currently, usage of generics in Ireland is very low - patients in the UK are four times more likely to use them - and a third of medical cardholders in Ireland, who now account for more than half the population, are not using generics. However, Teva Pharmaceuticals Ireland has this month launched a campaign to help raise awareness of generic medicines and provide assurances on their safety, quality and affordability.