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HSE introduces preferred drug initiative to save €15 million in budget

The recommended drugs are for ulcer disease and high cholesterol which account for 15 per cent of the drugs budget.

THE HSE HAS today identified two ‘preferred drugs’ for prescribers in the first recommendation of this kind by the state in relation to medication.

The two drugs recommended under a new preferred drug initiative are Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs), prescribed for patients with peptic ulcer disease and/or reflux, and Statin medication which is for high cholesterol.

The preferred PPI is called Lansoprazole and the preferred Statin is Simvastatin.

The HSE is asking doctors to prescribe these preferred drugs in order to save money, both for patients who pay for their medication and to deliver savings of an estimated €15million for the taxpayer. PPIs and Statins account for up to 15 per cent of the HSE’s drugs budget.

By changing existing patients to the preferred drug, and by prescribing these drugs for new patients, the HSE said “significant savings” can be achieved.


If 50 per cent of all PPI prescriptions were Lansoprazole, instead of the others the market, the HSE would save in the region of €7.5 million on the drugs budget in 2013. By switching 25 per cent of all prescribed Statins to Simvastatin, the HSE could save a further €8 million.

Patients who do not have a medical card could save over €300 per annum if they switch to the preferred drugs and the HSE has recommended patients discuss their suitability for changing to the drug with their doctor.

Currently there are five PPI’s on the market and a recent review found that three of these products differ significantly in price but little in terms of efficacy.

There are also five Statins on the market at present which, again, can vary significantly in terms of price. Patients who do not have a medical card and who pay for their medicines, who are suitable for treatment using the preferred drug, could save in the region of €130 per annum by switching to the preferred Statin, Simvastatin.

The preferred drug initiative is part of the HSE’s Medicines Management Programme which is aiming to secure €20 million in savings this year.

Read: Pharmacists: Increased prescription charges may lead to people being hospitalised>
Read: 94 per cent of consumers favour increase in use of generic medicines>

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