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Pharmaceuticals should be much cheaper - ESRI

In a major new report, the Economic and Social Research Institute suggests pharmacies should display their prices in-store and offer more generic drugs.

Paul Gorecki, Research Professor at the ESRI, presenting the report yesterday
Paul Gorecki, Research Professor at the ESRI, presenting the report yesterday
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

PHARMACEUTICALS IN IRELAND are still too expensive, a new report from the ESRI has said.

A range of measures, such as greater use of generic drugs, could be introduced to ensure that both cash-paying patients and taxpayers get better value for their money when it comes to pharmaceutical drugs, the report says.

It suggests that pharmacists should be allowed to dispense pharmaceutical products which are interchangeable with that prescribed by a doctor. At present, the pharmacist has to dispense the brand written on the prescription, which may not be the cheapest option for the consumer.

It also proposes that pharmacies should display dispensing fees, pharmacy services and mark-ups in-store so that patients can compare costs.

A list of recommended generic alternatives for medical professionals should be compiled to increase the amount of generic drugs which are prescribed.

Ireland had among the highest spend per person on pharmaceuticals in OECD countries in 2009.

The report entitled ‘Delivery of Pharmaceuticals in Ireland – Getting a Bigger Bang for the Buck’ notes that healthcare costs rose rapidly in Ireland during the 2000s, even as health budgets now are under pressure. Pharmaceuticals currently make up around 17.5 per cent of public health expenditure, up from 14 per cent in 2000.

Read the report in full on the ESRI website

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