Written Answers - Medicinal Products

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 710 No. 1

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  173.  Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan  Information on Maureen O'Sullivan  Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan   asked the Minister for Health and Children  Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney   if she will comment on the assertion that the switching of medications from a branded drug such as fosamax or actonel, for treatment of osteoporosis, to generic alendronate is a false economy as research has shown that persons who were switched to a cheaper version of a generic drug did not show any improvement in their bone density and that patients had side effects with the cheaper generic drug. [21548/10]

Minister for Health and Children (Deputy Mary Harney): Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  Over the past number of weeks I have answered a number of parliamentary questions and representations on this matter. I have made it quite clear on each occasion that with a system of generic substitution, it is important that all decisions about the interchangeability of medicines are evidence-based and take into account best practice elsewhere.

I have received the report of the joint Department of Health and Children/Health Service Executive working group established to set out a proposed model for the implementation of a system of reference pricing combined with generic substitution. The report will be published shortly. The introduction of a system of reference pricing and interchangeable medicines will promote price competition and deliver ongoing savings for both the State and for patients. I [217]expect to see significant progress on this in 2010, including the implementation of legislative and administrative changes required to give it effect in 2011.


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