Tuesday, 25 May 2010
Dáil Éireann Debate
173. Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children 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): 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 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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