A Cork company based in Mahon which offered to provide double digit savings on pharmaceutical products to the HSE has received no response to its proposal despite repeated representations over several months.
Three parliamentary questions submitted by Fianna Fáil TD for Cork South Central, Micheál Martin, on the issue took more than two months to produce an answer. The first question was referred to the HSE by Minister James Reilly over 9 weeks ago.
Deputy Martin commented: “The answer given at the third time of asking refused to provide the information requested in the original question, the HSE eventually said that there was litigation ongoing.
“Yet the Cork company, Pharmacy Wholesalers, is not in litigation with the HSE.”
Pharmacy Wholesalers, who are licenced by the Irish Medicines Board, offered discounts of between 5% and 17% on a range of products comparable to prices on the Irish market currently.
“The company first approached the HSE in March of last year. A number of applications for General Medical Services (GMS) codes in order to make the products available to Irish patients have not being progressed despite the HSE’s procedure for making applications being followed.
“I am absolutely astonished by the lack of response from the Minister and the HSE. Aside from being utterly unprofessional, I would have thought that the severe financial constraints the health system is under would have made this offer one that could not be ignored.”
Pharmacy Wholesalers Managing Director Mary O’Brien added: “Starting out in this process I never envisaged the problems we would encounter with the HSE. Having thought the process would be dealt with in a professional matter, almost 12 months later we are still not in a position to offer our range of medicines to Irish patients and at the very least we have not even received feedback from the HSE relating to our applications.
“We have followed all their protocols in the application process yet despite us being in a position to offer savings to the tax payer and create jobs locally, we have not being in a position to start supplying our products as we do not have the necessary reimbursement codes from the HSE.”
Deputy Martin concluded by saying: “Everyone agrees that we need to reduce drug prices in this country. Yet here we have the Minister and the HSE ignoring a proposal to do exactly that. I will continue to raise this issue until, at the very least, we have a satisfactory explanation for this behaviour.”